When it comes to the Clean Air Act and compliance with regulatory requirements, most problem solving involves a real understanding of technical issues, coupled with sound legal advice. MGKF maintains an in-house technical consulting staff to assist our attorneys in solving technically complex matters. This unique approach affords the attorneys an inside perspective on the technical aspects of an operation or process and its impact on the relevant regulatory issue. In addition to our in-house technical consultants, several of the firm's attorneys hold engineering or other science degrees and/or certifications.
MGKF's in-house technical staff and attorney expertise is based on "real-world" industry and consulting experience. This expertise was developed from working directly with multiple business/manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, chemical, glass, paper, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical, power generation, printing and surface coating, metal products, food products, steel products, paint and pigments, landfills, and many more.
We routinely account for technical and operational considerations through strategic permitting of emission sources, development of air emission inventories, air dispersion modeling evaluation, regulatory applicability determinations under various federal and state programs, source test plan development and evaluation, and regulatory program auditing at the facility and corporate levels.
In addition, our technical capabilities enable MGKF to serve as an interface between clients and outside environmental consultants. MGKF often assists clients in identifying or evaluating consultants for particular tasks, reviewing consultant proposals and analyzing and shepherding consultant work product for submittal to regulatory agencies.
MGKF's technical expertise is also invaluable in the context of responding to agency enforcement activity and other litigation involving complex, technical air quality issues. Our technical staff assist in evaluating technical claims and determining the need for expert support, identifying or evaluating technical experts and framing the presentation of technically complex issues. In some cases, MGKF's expertise allows clients to avoid the need for retaining additional professional assistance, while in other cases our involvement enables such external technical consulting work to be more efficient and focused.
Our experience and expertise includes the following complex air regulatory programs, among others:
NESHAP and Air Toxics: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has developed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants ("NESHAP") regulations for specified industries that emit one or more hazardous air pollutants ("HAPs"). In addition, many states have promulgated other control technology requirements for toxic air pollutants. Our technical consultants and attorneys assist clients with source test plans, applicability determinations, technology evaluations, and compliance planning relevant to HAPs and air toxics.
NSPS: Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, "Standards of Performance of New Stationary Sources," requires EPA to establish federal emission standards for source categories that cause or contribute significantly to air pollution. These standards are intended to promote use of the best air pollution control technologies, taking into account the cost of such technology and any other non-air quality, health, and environmental impact and energy requirements. Our technical consultants and attorneys regularly assist clients in the development of test protocols, compliance planning, emission estimation, and monitoring requirements. More recent developments have included client support as related to mercury emission control requirements applicable to coal-fired electric utilities.
NSR: New Source Review ("NSR") requires new or modified sources to obtain preconstruction permits that impose various control technology requirements depending upon the location of the source. In "nonattainment" areas, major sources subject to NSR are required to apply lowest achievable emission rate ("LAER") control technology and offset emissions from the project. In "attainment" areas, the NSR Prevention of Significant Deterioration ("PSD") program requires major sources to perform air quality and "additional impacts" analyses, and obtain permits that apply Best Achievable Control Technology ("BACT"). Similarly, many states have promulgated "minor NSR" regulations applicable to smaller sources that are not subject to the non-attainment NSR or PSD programs. Our technical consultants and attorneys have extensive experience in helping clients navigate through the technically complex NSR regulatory scheme, including calculations of net emissions increases and offsets, routine maintenance and repair exemptions, and LAER/BACT determinations.
©2006 Photo by Cie Stroud
Some examples of our representative technical experience include the following:
- MGKF prepared a Best Available Technology Demonstration ("BAT") for a multi-million dollar printing press requiring a volatile organic compound add-on control device. Technologies demonstrated included traditional thermal oxidation, flameless thermal oxidation, catalytic oxidation, biofiltration, and carbon adsorption.
- The firm developed an air pollution source emission inventory for a batch concrete manufacturer. The project consisted of an engineering evaluation of emission sources, development of emission scenarios, and a regulatory applicability determination.
- We have prepared Section 114 responses to EPA for secondary aluminum processing units, refinery operations, and other industries. These responses included technical evaluation of emission sources, regulatory applicability determinations, and emission quantification under malfunction events.
- The firm has conducted air compliance audits for various types of sources including bulk petroleum terminal facilities, hospitals and universities, lithographic printing operations, specialty batch chemical manufacturers, and municipal waste transportation, storage, and disposal facilities.
- We have prepared BAT (in Pennsylvania) or State of the Art (in New Jersey) evaluations for various new and existing sources including concrete batch manufacturers, large diesel internal combustion engines, lithographic printing operations, screen printing operations, and specialty-batch chemical manufacturers.
- MGKF has overseen stack testing efforts and provided stack test analysis and troubleshooting for various types of sources and associated pollution control devices including bulk petroleum terminals, large diesel internal combustion engines, glass manufacturers, lithographic printing operations, and specialty-batch chemical manufacturers.
- We have supervised outside technical consultants in estimating emissions from unconventional chemical process units.
- The firm has prepared and reviewed Compliance Assurance Monitoring ("CAM") Plans for Title V facilities, designed to ensure regulatory compliance while minimizing burden.
- We have overseen emission modeling efforts by outside consultants for chemical, scrap metal, and petroleum refining facilities.
- MGKF has identified and supervised the work of technical experts in successful administrative appeals of air quality permits.
- We have framed and disputed complex technical issues in responding to EPA enforcement actions under the NESHAP program.
- Philadelphia Proposes Sweeping Revisions to 40-Year-Old Air Toxics Regulations to Require Health Risk Assessments for Virtually All Permit and License Applications and RenewalsMay 10, 2022Public hearing scheduled for August 10, 2022.
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Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- June 24, 2014A Guide for Businesses and Property Owners
- December 9, 2010
- January 13, 2020The Philadelphia Business Journal