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Controlling Air Pollution from Facilities

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Industrial and commercial operations emit pollutants into the air. These pollutants can make breathing difficult, form urban smog, impair visibility, and attack ecosystems. Some can cause cancer or other serious health effects. Among the many pollutants emitted into the air each year are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides, carbon monoxide, benzene, mercury and dioxin.

Many of the sources of this air pollution are large facilities, such as petroleum refineries and chemical plants. Other pollution sources are smaller -- gasoline filling stations, dry cleaning operations, and paint spray booths. This page links to information about air source permits and other measures used by the state to reduce emissions from these stationary sources of air pollution.

Controlling Emissions from Stationary Sources

Air Facility Permits

Technology can prevent or limit the escape of pollution from industrial and commercial facilities. Regulatory agencies like DEC have the authority to require facilities to install pollution control technologies or to change operating practices that pollute the air. The air facility permit is the principal vehicle for requiring these measures.

Operating permits are legally enforceable documents issued to air pollution sources, specifying the air pollution control requirements for the facility. Operating sources must comply with the terms of this permit, and must publicly report their emissions. In addition, they may be required to monitor or test their emissions.

Small Business Compliance and Technical Assistance for Stationary Sources

This program helps small businesses comply with air emission requirements. It includes the Small Business Environmental Ombudsman, who handles complaints about regulations and is the small business advocate, providing information on complying with environmental regulations, and helping to locate sources of compliance financing. The Small Business Assistance Program provides small businesses with free technical assistance.

Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs)

ERCs are generated when a facility shuts down, or voluntarily reduces its permitted emissions by accepting a federally-enforceable emission cap. To help keep air pollution controls as economical as possible, emission trading programs allow sources with more expensive control costs to trade emission allowances with sources that have cheaper control costs.

A facility owner planning new or increased emissions must obtain enough emission reduction credits to offset these emissions before DEC will issue a permit to construct or modify an air pollution source. DEC maintains a registry where permit applicants can locate the necessary credits.

Dry Cleaner Regulation

To minimize the public's exposure to hazardous dry cleaning solvent vapors and groundwater contamination, the state's 1,690 dry cleaners are subject to regulatory requirements aimed at reducing and containing solvent vapors.

Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)

CAIR is a Federal regional emissions trading program developed for states within the eastern region of the United States. It is designed to mitigate interstate transport of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) to help reduce ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) formation in CAIR states located in the eastern United States.

Air Toxics Program

Air toxics regulations specify the degree of air cleaning required for sources of toxic air pollutants, based on an Environmental Rating determined by evaluating the pollutant's toxicity and the pollution load already going into the air. The program employs the latest in computer modeling, air monitoring, and risk assessment methods to determine the control measures that will be required for any emission of a toxic air pollutant.

Public and Stakeholder Participation Information

Learn about upcoming meetings, webinars, trainings and other events relating to air quality in New York.

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    Division of Air Resources
    Air Pollution
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3254
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