The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final ruling that assures facilities producing ethanol for human consumption, industrial use or fuel are treated equally under Clean Air Act permitting requirements.
According to EPA officials, this final rule establishes the same emissions thresholds for new facilities that produce ethanol using a feedstock such as corn or sugar beets regardless of the product produced – 250 tons per year for the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program. The thresholds for the nonattainment NSR and Title V programs will remain at current levels.
The final rule also will no longer require facilities producing ethanol for fuel or industrial purposes to count emissions of criteria pollutants that do not come from process stacks or vents when determining if they meet or exceed the emissions thresholds for the Clean Air Act operating permits, nonattainment NSR, or PSD programs.
Ethanol producers greeted the EPA decision enthusiastically. “This decision is a critical step forward for the ethanol industry and corn producers everywhere. The EPA’s decision fixes a fundamental regulatory unfairness and will allow for more efficient permitting of ethanol plants that will promote American energy independence,” said Bill Paulsen, President of the South Dakota Ethanol Producers, in a statement issued by Poet Energy of Sioux Falls, SD.