The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently denied a petition filed by environmental groups asking the agency to object to an air permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR ) to a Green Bay paper mill. The groups argued that the permit did not comply with the Clean Air Act’s prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) requirements because the state DNR erroneously exempted certain modification projects as routine maintenance, repair or replacement. They also argued that DNR ’s permit lacked applicable PSD and new source performance standard requirements triggered by “non-exempt fuel switching.”  

According to EPA, the groups failed to demonstrate that the projects in question resulted in emissions increases that would have made them subject to additional requirements. EPA also determined that the groups did not demonstrate that the plant’s burning of petroleum coke and tires resulted in increased emissions or necessitated a major modification of the boilers that burned the fuel. The agency further stated that petitioners failed to support their claim that the permit lacked applicable requirements and “have not presented a compelling basis for EPA to reconsider” its interpretation of the permit.