Title V Objection/Clean Air Act: Environmental Organizations Petition to Object to Five Alabama Department of Environmental Management Permits | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC

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Five environmental organizations filed a petition (“Petition”) requesting that the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) permit the issuance of Title V renewal permits (“Permits”) to the following five facilities contradicts:

  • Plains Marketing LP (Mobile County, AL), License #503-3013 (“Plains Marketing”)
  • Alabama Bulk Terminal (Mobile County, AL), Permit #503-3035 (“AL Bulk Terminal”)
  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation (Mobile County, AL), Permit #503-2012 (“Kimberly-Clark”)
  • Epic Alabama Maritime Assets, LLC – Alabama Shipyard LLC (Mobile County, AL), Permit #503-6001 (“Alabama Shipyard”)
  • UOP LLC (Mobile County, AL), Permission No. 503-8010 (“UOP”)

Environmental organizations filing the petition include:

  • Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution
  • Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition (“MEJAC”)
  • Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe, Sustainable Africatown
  • Mobile Alabama NAACP Unit #5044 Environmental and Climate Justice Committee

(collectively “MEJAC”)

42 USC § 7661d(a) requires states to submit each Title V type approval to the EPA for review. The federal agency has 45 days to object to the issuance of the permit if it finds that it does not meet the applicable Clean Air Act requirements. If the EPA does not object to a permit, section 505(b)(2) provides that any person may submit a request to the EPA Administrator to object to the permit within 60 days of the end of the 45-day review period.

MEJAC describes its decision to address five approvals in a Title V Objection Request Petition as unusual. It states that this action was required:

. . . given the strict deadlines for petitions contained in the Clean Air Act. . . and ADEM’s decision to submit the proposed versions of eight approvals – including each of the approvals addressed in this petition – to EPA during a one-week period in September.

MEJAC states that it has chosen to focus this petition on the five permits it says represent the emission-generating sources of greatest concern to communities in its area, and:

. . . Address issues that represent inconsistencies in the ADEM approval, which could be improved by EPA issuing objections to these approvals.

The petition raises what it identifies as three types of objections that ADEM should address going forward, including:

  1. providing the information necessary and required for meaningful public participation in the Title V permitting process,
  2. a meaningful account of the environmental impact of Title V permits and the ADEM permitting process,
  3. carefully review permit terms to ensure they contain all applicable requirements and comply with the law, including, but not limited to, terms included to avoid key source requirements, and specific monitoring, recording and reporting sufficient to ensure compliance with those key terms.

The EPA is being asked to object to the five approvals because:

  • ADEM has not complied with the procedural requirements for issuing these permits;
  • ADEM’s issuance of these permits does not comply with the Title V public participation requirements or the prohibition of differential effects under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, 1964; and
  • The terms of the permits do not meet the essential requirements of the Clean Air Act, particularly with regard to the adequacy of synthetic minor limits and monitoring, recording and reporting requirements.

The remainder of the petition alleges in more detail certain deficiencies in the five permits.

A copy of the petition can be downloaded here.