EPA has published a proposed rule that would amend the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAPs) for primary lead smelting. 76 Fed. Reg. 9,410 (2/17/11). The proposed rule includes emission limits for lead and the elimination of special facility startup and shutdown emission rules found by a federal appeals court to violate the Clean Air Act. Sierra Club v. EPA, 551 F.3d 1019 (D.C. Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 1735 (2010).

The proposal calls for a stack lead emission cap of 0.91 tons per year and limits on air lead concentration to ensure that dust emissions will not exceed air quality standards. The proposed limits would apply to both new and existing facilities. EPA is specifically seeking comments on whether and how (i) to best estimate and evaluate total hazardous air pollutant exposure in its assessments and (ii) it might be appropriate to use information from the agency’s National- Scale Air Toxics Assessments to support those estimates. EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule until April 4, 2011.