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EPA Finalizes Paper and Web Coating MACT

On Dec. 4, 2002, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard governing major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that are “engaged in the coating of paper, plastic film, metallic foil, and other web surfaces.”

A facility is a “major source” of HAPs if it emits, or has the potential to emit, 10 tons/yr or more of any single HAP or 25 tons/yr or more of any combination of HAPs.

The standard applies to new or existing lines that coat paper; foil; fabric; film, including polyester, PE, PP, PVC, and cellulose acetate film; gift wrap; paper wallpaper; p-s tape and labels; flexible packaging (coated and laminated packing paper and plastic films); laminated aluminum (metal) foil and leaf; and plastic aseptic packaging.

The final MACT differs from EPA's Sept. 13, 2000, proposal by excluding fabric coating lines that also coat paper and other webs. These coating lines are subject to a pending standard for fabric and other textile printing, coating, and dyeing operations. Conversely, paper coating lines that also coat fabrics for use in p-s tape and abrasive materials remain subject to the Paper and Web Coating MACT. According to EPA, product applications requiring the performance or unique characteristics of fabric nevertheless use the same coating equipment, coating solutions, and essentially have the same emissions.

Existing converter facilities subject to the MACT have until Dec. 5, 2005, to switch to low- or zero-HAP coatings, install capture and control systems, or combine both methods to limit emissions to 5% of organic HAPs applied each month. New facilities that started up on or after Dec. 4, 2002, must immediately limit their emissions to 2% of HAPs applied each month. Existing and new coating facilities may opt to comply with alternative emission limits based on the mass of coating solids applied (20% and 8% by weight, respectively), or the mass of coating material applied (4% and 1.6% by weight, respectively). Facilities subject to the MACT must send an initial notification to their EPA Regional Office and state regulatory agency. Existing facilities must submit their initial notification no later than Dec. 5, 2004. New sources starting up after Dec. 4, 2002, must submit their notification within 120 days of initial startup.

Now that the MACT is final, converters are no longer subject to the Clean Air Act's “MACT Hammer” provisions, which went into effect when EPA failed to meet a Nov. 15, 2000, statutory deadline, and require the submission of permit applications beginning 18 months after the deadline. Converters subject to the Paper and Web Coating MACT were required to submit the first part of their application by May 15, 2002. Facilities subject to pending MACTs are still under the “Hammer” provision and must submit the application's second, more comprehensive part by May 15, 2004.

In response to a Sierra Club suit challenging the revised MACT Hammer schedule, EPA proposed on Dec. 4, 2002, to accelerate the second part of the application by up to a year. Applications for 15 MACTs rescheduled for promulgation by Feb. 28, 2003, such as the Fabric Printing, Coating, and Dyeing MACT, are due May 15, 2003, if the Agency misses the new promulgation deadline. Applications for the remaining MACTs are due 60 days after their respective scheduled dates. Twelve MACTs are due Aug. 8, 2003, four more on Feb. 28, 2004, and the last two on June 13, 2005.

EPA maintains the second-part applications will be unnecessary because it will meet the settlement deadlines. Converting facilities that may be subject to the Fabric Printing MACT should consider the Agency's promulgation record and at least identify the resources and information needed to complete the second-part application in case EPA misses the Feb. 28, 2003, deadline.


Sheila A. Millar, a partner with Keller and Heckman LLP, counsels both corporate and association clients. Contact her at 202/434-4143; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; PackagingLaw.com


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