On January 25, 2018, the EPA issued a change to Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. Originally, when an organization was determined as a “major source” of hazardous air pollutants, it was considered to be a major source from that point on, with no change to status. This meant that the facility was required to reduce its emissions down to levels based on how much was possible for the lifetime of the operation.
The new guidelines allow these facilities to now be reclassified as an “area” source rather than a “major” source. The primary change here is that area sources are held to less stringent guidelines and standards than major sources are.
A concern that has arisen due to the withdrawal of the 23-year-old policy is that pollution emitting facilities will no longer have incentives to reduce their emissions, and even further, will do less to reduce their air emissions.
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