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American Wood Council

Forest Products Manufacturers Applaud New EPA Permit Streamlining Rule

Jun 26, 2019

WASHINGTON – American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski and American Forest & Paper Association President and CEO Donna Harman issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of a new rule to reclassify certain major sources as area sources under the Clean Air Act. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the proposed rule on “Once In, Always In” on June 25, 2019.

Robert Glowinski, President and CEO of AWC

“The old ‘Once In, Always In’ policy arbitrarily put a manufacturing facility into a regulatory time warp from which it could never escape. In contrast, EPA’s proposed rule would allow mills that are able to reduce their emissions below Clean Air Act thresholds to be free of onerous additional reporting, monitoring and recordkeeping requirements as long as they operate to stay below the cutoffs.

“Reducing the burdens of complying with these standards creates strong incentives for reducing emissions, while boosting the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers, especially smaller mills.

“We are pleased that EPA has returned to a plain reading of the Clean Air Act for these area source regulations. Codifying the January 2018 Air Office memo that eliminated the old ‘Once In, Always In’ policy is an important step in reforming the cumbersome environmental permit system. Sensible regulations, such as this proposed rule, can provide the protection of health and the environment, while encouraging industry air emissions improvements.”

Donna Harman, President and CEO of AF&PA

“We applaud the EPA for continuing its comprehensive efforts to ‘right size’ the permitting process to align with common sense and the law by removing the ‘Once In, Always In’ policy.  This action will help reduce costly and complex regulatory burdens to the forest products industry. Moreover, the measure eliminates disincentives to voluntary efforts and technical innovations that could reduce emissions.

“Historically, some agency interpretations that are not consistent with the meaning of the Clean Air Act served to create an overly bureaucratic, slow and outdated system. The ‘Once In, Always In’ approach contradicted both the law and common sense by treating a source as major even if production process changes or controls permanently reduced emissions levels to the minor source level.

“The new rule is consistent with our 2017 recommendations to the EPA and Department of Commerce to streamline permitting programs that will support industry’s ability to innovate, invest and create American manufacturing jobs. That’s a goal worth fighting for.”

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