What’s New

Environmental Justice Requirements in Colorado

The Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently added new requirements for sources to submit Environmental Justice reports for permit applications and renewals.  The new requirements include running reports from their new Environmental Justice Tool and reviewing those reports for areas where additional community outreach and pollution mitigation may need to be done.   Facilities must also include a map of their source with the boundary outlined and a one-mile radius around the facility indicated.  If your facility is looking for some help with their new environmental justice requirements, Applewood can assist.

If your facility is not in need of permit modifications or renewals, it may still be helpful to understand what kind of community engagement and pollution mitigation may be required for future projects.  Applewood has prepared Environmental Justice reports for facilities to review internally, which can help prepare for what may need to be included in air permit projects in the future.   Please reach out if your facility needs help.  

Air Compliance Training

Do you ever feel like everyone in your facility could use some basic air quality education? Bethany Moffat has worked with clients to provide a basic understanding of air quality rules and how it applies to their specific jobs. Maybe your research and development team needs to understand what chemical outputs should be avoided or maybe your operators need to understand why they document stack inspections on a regular basis. Reach out to Applewood and we can design a training specific to your facility and employees so that accidental compliance issues can be understood and avoided.

Severe Ozone Nonattainment Status Finalization

The Denver Metro North Front Range area has recently been reclassified to a severe ozone nonattainment area.   This reclassification is an effort to reduce the brown smog that often covers our city and impacts the health of residents.  This will mean more stringent requirements for new sources and modifications in the area.  Depending on your operation and current emission level, your facility may need to have their permit updated.

If you think your facility may be impacted or if you have any projects that may increase emissions, please reach out to Applewood for assistance!

Return to the University of Denver

Bethany is proud to announce her return to her alma mater for Winter Quarter 2022!  She will be teaching Integrated Environmental Systems as a hybrid course online and on campus in the Environmental Policy and Management Masters program.  Check out her faculty bio here :    https://universitycollege.du.edu/instructors/instructor-bio.cfm?empid=2178

Smaller Sources and Potential to Emit

With major source limits in the Denver metro area non-attainment area lowering to 25 tons per year of NOx or VOC in early 2022, many sources that have previously considered themselves to be small may be bumping into major source limits and the permitting requirements applicable to major sources.  The 25 tons per year emission level is based on a facility’s Potential to Emit (PTE).  A PTE inventory shows the maximum amount of emissions that COULD come from your facility if it were running at maximum capacity all the time, even if your facility would never run consistently at that level.

Does your facility have a Potential to Emit (PTE) Inventory?  If you have some sources that are controlled, you may or may not be able to count that control in your PTE Inventory, depending on your permits.  Maybe your facility only has a few sources that require a permit and the emissions from those sources added together are less than 25 tpy of NOx or VOC, but did you include your insignificant sources, such as gas-fired heaters, fire pumps, emergency generators, and small fuel tanks, in your PTE?  If you would like to discuss your facility’s PTE inventory, Applewood can help!

Greenhouse Gas Energy Audits for Colorado Manufacturers

The Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) is working on a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Audit Program that will focus on reducing GHG emissions from manufacturing facilities.  The program has been created in response to Colorado Revised Statute Section 25-7-102(2(g) which set the following goals for GHG reduction in the state:

  • 26% reduction by 2025
  • 50% reduction by 2030
  • 90% reduction by 2050

The audit program will be based on manufacturing facilities’ relative contribution, so large contributors to GHG emissions will be the focus of the program in the beginning.  Manufacturing facilities with direct emissions of equal to or more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2e per year through 2019 will be the affected facilities at first.  It is expected that the applicability will be lowered to smaller contributors in the future.   Facilities that will be excluded will be Oil and Gas, Landfills, Underground Coal Mines, Electric Generating Units and Food Processing Facilities.  Most of those types of sources are covered under separate regulations.

The audit program will require energy and emission control audits addressing GHG emissions from energy-intensive, trade exposed manufacturing facilities (EITEs) as well as non EITE facilities.  For EITEs it will require that the audit be done by a 3rd party every 5 years through 2035. Non EITE facilities will be required to implement management systems for energy and GHG emission reductions over a 5-year period.   APCD wants facilities to help decide what sources should be included in their own audit, with the focus being on the sources that have the most emissions.

The audit will help to establish GHG Best Available Control Technologies (BACT) and Best Available Energy Efficiency Practices (BAEEP). These will likely be set per facility instead of per industry.  The audit report should recommend a compliance process.  If sources do not meet GHG BACT and BAEEP, the commission will consider the regulatory requirements to further mitigate the costs of reducing emissions and provide incentives to reduce emissions.  APCD would also like to utilize existing programs like ISO.

APCD expects to have draft language for the audit program out by mid-February 2021.  In April there will be a request for a rulemaking and a rulemaking hearing in July.   For more information on the upcoming GHG audit program for Colorado manufacturer’s, go to the CDPHE website for the program:


Planning for Ozone Non-attainment Downgrade – Again

On December 15, 2020 Governor Polis released a statement about his intentions to push for a downgrade for the Denver Metropolitan/North Front Range Area from serious to severe non-attainment for the area’s ozone levels.  The area has been unable to achieve a ground-level ozone standard of 75 ppb.  The statement said that state agencies and stakeholders should plan for the downgrade in 2022.

Currently, sources that have a potential to emit (PTE) over 50 tons per year of VOC and NOx need to have Title V permits.  However, this will likely soon change again.  The major source level was only recently moved down from 100 tons per year in January of 2020.  Sources that have air permits with VOC or NOx emissions between 25 and 50 tons per year are going to have to either limit their emissions to less than 25 tons per year or apply for a Title V permit within 1 year of the severe designation.

If a source intends to submit a synthetic minor permit, which would limit their emissions to less than 25 tons per year, then the permit needs to be ISSUED by the Air Pollution Control Division within the 12-month period after the change to avoid Title V permit application requirements.  Often permits take several (4-18) months to be issued by the Air Pollution Control Division, so applications for synthetic minor permits need to be submitted in the upcoming months.

If a source intends to submit a Title V permit application, the application will need to be submitted within 12 months of the redesignation date, so likely in 2023.

Sources should now be looking at their PTE accounting and deciding what will work best for them.

To help sources decide which direction to go with their air permit, Applewood has assembled the following table that outlines the benefits and disadvantages of each type of air permit:  Benefits and Drawbacks of Major or Minor Source Permits

Project Emissions Accounting Update

On October 22, 2020 the EPA finalized the latest guidance on Project Emissions Accounting for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR). In short, the new guidance says that sources can consider emissions reductions in the first step of emissions accounting, which allows them to couple emissions reductions with increases that may be necessary for their process. These reductions can help sources avoid a more complicated permitting process.

It is, however, up to some individual states to decide if they want to follow this guidance. States can decide to use the old guidelines which do not allow for subtraction of emissions reductions in the first step of the process.

For more details on this final action on Project Emissions Accounting, the EPA has a fact sheet and a link to the final rule posted here: https://www.epa.gov/nsr/nsr-regulatory-actions


Protection from Wildfire Smoke

My son has asthma and the wildfire smoke has been making him cough.  It is a nasty, goopy cough, which has garnered some fun stares in COVID times.  His asthma specialist recommended that we purchase HEPA air purifiers and place them in our home.  This is also the best way to deal with wildfire smoke even if you do not have asthma.  However, if you do not want to go out and buy expensive HEPA filters, check out this great video from the University of Michigan on how to make a HEPA air purifier yourself! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH5APw_SLUU