EPA Accepts Comment on Proposed Revisions to Subparts J and Ja

March 18, 2009
by BART CASSIDY
MGKF News Flash

On December 22, 2008, EPA published proposed revisions to the New Source Performance Standards for Petroleum Refineries, promulgated at 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subparts J and Ja. EPA characterizes this proposed rulemaking as merely reflecting determinations made by EPA on reconsideration, and clarifying certain definitions.

In fact, however, EPA's proposed definitional changes could have significant implication for applicability of the fuel gas combustion device standards under Subparts J and Ja to coke gasification projects performed at or adjacent to refineries. In particular, EPA proposes changes to the definition of "refinery process unit" and "fuel gas" that are intended to sweep petroleum coke gasification activity, and the combustion of resulting syngas, within the sulfur control standards of the Refinery NSPSs.

In addition, the Proposed Rule addresses issues associated with the combustion of gases in refinery flares, specifically including the timeframe available for refineries to implement flare gas recovery in the event that a "modification" to a flare triggers NSPS applicability. Given EPA's unique definition of "modification" for flares under the Refinery NSPS, it is likely that virtually all refinery flares would become affected sources under the Refinery NSPS, and ultimately trigger the need for flare gas controls. Accordingly, the timeframe available for compliance with such standards is particularly significant.