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Air Facility Permits and Registrations

Air Permitting Program

NYS issues air pollution control permits and registrations to sources of air pollution in accordance with its federally-approved permitting program under 6 NYCRR Part 201 (leaves DEC website). The program is administered by the Division of Air Resources (DAR). Air pollution sources range in size from large industrial facilities and power plants to small commercial operations, such as dry cleaners. Most large sources require comprehensive air permits, while smaller sources are covered by air facility registrations.

Before the Clean Air Act of 1970, few limitations were placed on the amount of pollution that could be discharged into the air. After decades of controlling emissions using air facility permits and registrations, NYS’ air quality has improved significantly. Today, the air quality in most areas of NYS meets standards that are much more stringent than those of 1970. By requiring the use of effective pollution control technology and enforcing compliance with permit conditions, DEC's air permitting program has been a vital means of reducing emissions to meet stringent air quality standards that protect human health and the environment.

Permits and Registrations

DEC issues three types of air permits:

Air Facility Registrations are issued to non-major facilities that meet the criteria of Subpart 201-4 (leaves DEC website). These are generally smaller facilities with the following characteristics:

  • Their annual actual emissions are less than half of the level that would make them major.
  • They do not require the use of permit conditions to limit their emissions below the thresholds that would otherwise make them subject to state or federal requirements.
  • Their annual actual emissions of high toxicity air contaminants do not equal or exceed the applicable thresholds.
  • Air facility registrations are issued for a period of ten years.

State facility permits are issued to facilities that meet the criteria of Subpart 201-5 (leaves DEC website). These are generally large facilities with the following characteristics:

  • Their annual actual emissions exceed 50 percent of the level that would make them major, but their potential to emit as defined in Part 200 (leaves DEC website) does not place them in the major category.
  • They require the use of permit conditions to limit emissions below thresholds that would otherwise make them subject to State or federal requirements.
  • They have been granted variances under DEC’s regulations.
  • Their annual actual emissions of high toxicity air contaminants equal or exceed the applicable thresholds.
  • Air state facility permits are issued for a period not to exceed ten years.

Title V facility permits are issued to facilities subject to Subpart 201-6 (leaves DEC website). These include facilities that are determined to be major under DEC’s regulations or that are subject to federal acid rain program requirements. Title V permits reduce violations of air pollution laws and improve enforcement of those laws by:

  • Recording all the air pollution control requirements that apply to the source in one document. This gives the public, regulators, and the source a clear picture of what the facility is required to do to keep its air pollution within legal limits.
  • Requiring the source to report how it is tracking emissions of air pollutants and the controls it is using to limit pollution. These reports are public information and can be obtained from DAR.
  • Adding monitoring, testing, or record keeping requirements, where needed, to assure that the source complies with its emission limits or other pollution control requirements.
  • Requiring the source to certify each year that it has met the air pollution requirements in its title V permit. These certifications are public information.
  • Making the terms of the title V permit federally enforceable. This means that EPA and the public can enforce the terms of the permit, along with the State.
  • Title V permits are issued for a period of up to five years.

The Air Permitting Process

To obtain a permit, a facility owner or operator must apply to DEC. Applicants must supply information on the facility's emissions, the processes operating at the facility, the raw materials being used, the height and location of stacks or vents, the requirements that apply to the facility, and the controls being applied. DAR develops air permits based on the information provided in the application.

Permit applications are processed following a number of steps prescribed by 6 NYCRR Part 621 (leaves DEC website). The permit process begins with DEC technical staff reviewing the application to determine if the operation of the facility can be expected to cause any air pollution problems, and to ensure that compliance with air pollution control requirements will be achieved.

Based on the information in the application, a draft permit is developed and proposed. The proposed permit is formally noticed in the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) and made available for public comment before a final permit is issued. Depending on the type of permit, the proposal period may be brief and straightforward or may require more extensive involvement of the public, USEPA, and other states. After all comments have been sufficiently addressed, a final permit is issued to the facility. Both draft and final Air State Facility and Title V Facility permits are available to the public online.

 
 
 

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