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Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Air Permit

Project Name: Responsible Agency:
Environmental Protection Agency
Agency Status: Cooperating under FAST-41
Status:
Planned
POC Name:
Kelly Fortin
POC Title:
Team Lead, OCS, Air Permits Technical & Policy Advisor

Description:

The EPA promulgated the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) air regulations (40 CFR part 55) pursuant to Section 328 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). OCS permits contain various requirements including preconstruction permit requirements under the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program and operating permit requirements under the Title V permitting program. OCS permits also include New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) and/or state and local air pollution control requirements for sources locating within 25 miles of a state’s seaward boundary (the line 3 nautical miles distant from a state’s coastline (9 nautical miles for Texas and Florida)). OCS permit issuance is a federal action that triggers EPA obligations under other federal statutes (e.g., National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA)). The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) is the lead Federal agency for ensuring compliance with ESA, MSA and NHPA. EPA is a co-action agency for all ESA, MSA and NHPA compliance activities associated with wind development projects on the Atlantic OCS. OCS permits are issued by EPA regional offices or delegated state and local permitting authorities. To date, the EPA has delegated the OCS permitting program to three states (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) and four permitting authorities in California (San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD), Santa Barbara County APCD, South Coast Air Quality Management District and Ventura County APCD).

Once an OCS permit application is determined complete by the applicable permitting authority, the permitting authority develops and issues a draft OCS permit. This draft OCS permit is open for public comment, usually for a 30-day public comment period, and after comments are evaluated, a response to comments document is developed. Public notice documents can be found on the applicable permitting authority website.

Although EPA’s OCS air permitting projects are not subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the EPA actively participates in BOEM's processes under NEPA for each of the OCS projects off the Atlantic coast and considers BOEM’s environmental analyses, including the NEPA Record of Decision (ROD), in the development of the OCS air permit for each source. The ROD explains BOEM’s decision under NEPA, the alternatives BOEM considered and BOEM’s plans for mitigation and monitoring, if necessary. EPA’s final permit decision occurs after the issuance of the ROD, which fulfills EPA’s statutory obligations under ESA, MSA and NHPA. The final permit must be issued no later than one year from the date EPA determines that the OCS permit application is complete. OCS permit application submission and review milestones are discussed in more detail below.

Milestones:

NOI to apply for an Air Permit submitted (Applicant Action)
Completed Date:
Milestone Details

The OCS permit application process begins when a project sponsor determines that a proposed activity is likely to require an OCS permit and, after initial consultation, notifies EPA of its intent to file an application (if the project is within 25 miles of the state’s seaward boundary). Per the OCS permitting implementing regulations at 40 CFR Part 55, the Notice of Intent (NOI) target date is no earlier than 18 months before a permit application is submitted. For FAST-41 purposes, EPA projects this milestone and all subsequent project milestones ahead of the receipt of the NOI and works with the permit applicant to refine these milestones as the project moves through the OCS permitting process.

OCS Air Permit application submitted (Applicant Action)
Current Target Date:
Milestone Details

The permit application must demonstrate compliance with all applicable requirements before it is submitted to the air permitting authority. Those requirements are stated in 40 CFR Part 55, which include but are not limited to, New Source Review (NSR) permitting, title V permitting, New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) and any applicable state and local requirements.

Ahead of this milestone, EPA and the project developer conduct pre-application meetings as necessary to identify data and information needs, applicable OCS permitting requirements (e.g., air pollution control requirements, air quality modeling requirements) and policy issues for the proposed project. It is recommended that preapplication meetings start to occur 9 months ahead of this milestone’s target date. The air quality modeling protocol required as part of the permit application submittal is recommended to be sent to the permitting authority 6 months prior to this milestone.

OCS Air Permit application complete (Applicant Action)
Current Target Date:
Milestone Details

In accordance with 40 CFR 124.3(c), EPA notifies the permit applicant whether the permit application is complete or incomplete within 30 days after receiving such application. If incomplete, EPA will ask the permit applicant to submit any additional information necessary to make the permit application complete.

Once the permit application addresses all EPA requirements, EPA will send a letter in writing to the permit applicant confirming that the permit application is complete. The milestone will be checked (on the dashboard) when completeness is confirmed.

Issuance of final decision/permit approval (Agency Action)
Current Target Date:
Milestone Details

The target date for this milestone is one year after the date EPA determines that the OCS air permit application is complete. This milestone also reflects timely receipt of BOEM’s Record of Decision (ROD) for the project, which must occur prior to issuance of a final permit. EPA generally estimates final permit issuance will occur 90 days after BOEM’s ROD issuance.