What’s in the Air for 2017 in New Jersey?

January 22, 2017
Carol F. McCabe
MGKF Special Alert - Forecast 2017

2017 promises to be an active year for air regulatory developments in New Jersey.  In early January, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) proposed amendments to its air regulations governing Reasonably Available Control Technology obligations for sources of volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) and nitrogen oxides (“NOx”).  The rules are intended to help the state meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone through the regulation of VOC emissions from industrial cleaning solvents; miscellaneous metal and plastic parts coatings; paper, film and foil coatings; and fiberglass boat manufacturing materials.  These rules reflect recommendations from federal Control Techniques Guidelines.  The proposed rulemaking also targets NOx emissions from existing simple cycle combustion turbines combusting natural gas and compressing gaseous fuel at Major NOx facilities (compressor turbines) and from stationary reciprocating engines combusting natural gas and compressing gaseous fuel at Major NOx facilities (compressor engines).  NJDEP will hold a public hearing on the rule on February 13, 2017 and will accept comments submitted by March 4, 2017.  A copy of the proposal can be found here.

Separately, NJDEP has announced its consideration of another air regulatory effort called the Resiliency, Air Toxics and Exemptions rulemaking.  At a meeting with industrial stakeholders in December, NJDEP indicated that it would be considering revisions to certain aspects of its Chapter 27 air regulations which would:  1) incorporate resiliency measures regarding the use of emergency equipment conducting construction, repair and maintenance; 2) update toxic valuations using current scientifically based values; 3) incorporate new permit exemptions for specified equipment and operations; 4) repeal Subchapters 30 and 31 (pertaining to outdated NOx trading programs); and 5) undertake minor cleanup of existing rules.  The Department described the goals for each item, solicited input on the changes from the group of industrial stakeholders, and indicated its intent to begin working on the proposal early this year.  Materials from the December stakeholder meeting are available at the Department’s website here, under “past meetings.”