In the wake of EPA Region 6’s recent decision to overturn TCEQ-issued air permits for 40 companies, EPA fired another shot at The Alamo. The EPA is offering Texas companies with the approximately 130 affected air permits the opportunity to have third party audits conducted with a promise of enforcement leniency in exchange. The pre-publication version of the announcement is posted at EPA Region 6 website here, as well as the 30-page agreement that audit participants must execute with EPA.
Noteworthy aspects of the agreement include:
– Highly prescriptive requirements for third party auditor independence and report certification
– Detailed requirements for the scope of the audit
– Audit report content, format and submission requirements – including taxonomy for supporting document attachments
– Mandates and specifications for emissions-related Community Projects to be entered into by the audit participant and approved by EPA
– Separate specifications for the NSR portion of the audit and related report
– The model Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO)
Companies interested in participating in the audit program should conduct a thorough review – with legal counsel – of the language contained in the agreement and CAFO documents. Although we at Elm are not lawyers and do not dispense legal advice, these documents do not appear to provide protection against fines and penalties.