On December 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two memos – Next Steps for Addressing EPA-Issued Step 2 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Greenhouse Gas Permits and Associated Requirements and No Action Assurance Regarding EPA-Issued Step 2 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permits and Related Title V Requirements Following Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency – which outline the EPA’s enforcement response to the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental Protection Agency.

In UARG, the Supreme Court found that the EPA did not have authority to require major sources to obtain a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) or Title V permit based solely on greenhouse gas emissions. To respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the EPA is taking the following actions:

  • The EPA will propose a new rule that will give regulators authority to rescind greenhouse-gas-only permits. The EPA anticipates finalizing the new rule by December 31, 2015. 
  • Until the new rule is issued, the EPA is providing no action assurance to sources with EPA-issued PSD permit requirements based solely on greenhouse gas emissions. The agency will not enforce the terms and conditions relating to greenhouse gases in a source’s EPA-issued PSD permit and Title V permit, if any. 
  • The EPA also is encouraging state permitting authorities to take similar action with PSD permit requirements that have been incorporated into Title V permits.