Major changes in air permits on the horizon

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, July 25, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

California’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has revised its “Health Risk Assessment (HRA) Guidelines.” These draft changes will significantly impact local and State air toxics programs, as well as the way project proponents perform environmental analyses of these projects: AB 2588/Air Toxic Hot Spots Assessment and Risk Reduction Programs, Toxics New Source Review Permitting and CEQA Project Review.

Although the HRA guideline changes have been under development for some time, industry only became aware of the extent to which they focus public perception on the safety of affected businesses and industrial operations and the resulting regulatory status of those facilities. Changes were made to take into consideration a number of different factors, but primary among them was increased inhalation rates for infants and children and therefore increased cancer exposure.

Per the California Air Pollution Officers Association (CAPCOA), the changes will result in an increase in “Hot Spots” health risks of 1.5 to 3 times the present figures. This will compel some districts to issue warnings to surrounding facilities and residents, even if there is no change in actual emissions. Such action will trigger negative attention from the surrounding community.

These changes are more than just a technical exercise in refining the health risk assessment methodology. We can foresee potential curtailment of new manufacturing permitting, potential restrictions on expansion and possibly a forced reduction in operations. Among those permits affected will be diesel engines and gas stations as well as auto refinishing, metal and wood coating, electrical power generation, asphalt plants and quarries, oil and gas facilities, hospitals, landfills and public owned treatment works.

CMTA is joining other members of the industrial and business community in asking CalEPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez to extend the comment period at least another 60 days beyond the August 4th closing date.

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