On December 19, 2000, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA issued a finding that 11 States and the District of Columbia failed to submit a complete state implementation plan (SIP) for NOX reductions as required by 40 CFR Part 96. These 11 States and the District of Columbia must now submit a complete SIP to EPA within the next 18 months. Failure to submit a complete SIP within 18 months requires that EPA issue an emissions offset sanction. Additionally, if a State fails to submit an approved SIP within 6 months after the offset sanction is issued, then EPA can impose limitations on federal highway funds. Finally, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to issue a federal implementation plan (FIP) within two years of issuing such a finding if a State still has not submitted an approved SIP. It is anticipated that a FIP would be significantly less flexible for industrial sources.
On a second front, the U.S. Court of Appeals, on December 15, 2000, began hearing oral arguments concerning the Section 126 rule (i.e., 40 CFR Part 97) as part of the Appalachian Power Company versus EPA lawsuit. At a minimum, the litigants hope to postpone the Section 126 compliance deadlines to coincide with those specified in 40 CFR Part 96. Given the array of litigation surrounding these two rules, many affected sources appear to have taken a "wait-and-see" approach. However, if the Court upholds the Section 126 compliance deadlines, affected sources currently without monitoring systems would face a significant challenge to install and certify monitoring systems by the current deadline of May 1, 2002.
RMB Consulting &