Air Regulatory Efficiency and Streamlining Effort (EASE)
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is engaging in a series of consensus-driven stakeholder discussions, with the ultimate goal of preparing a regulatory package for initiation with the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC or “Commission”) that harmonizes and streamlines Arkansas air quality regulations and presents a state implementation plan package for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval to demonstrate that the streamlined regulations would satisfy federal Clean Air Act requirements.
The regulatory package seeks to streamline Regulation 18, Arkansas Air Pollution Control Code; Regulation 19, Regulations of the Arkansas Plan of Implementation for Air Pollution Control; Regulation 26, Regulations of the Arkansas Operating Air Permit Program; and Regulation 31, Nonattainment New Source Review Requirements. The purpose of the regulatory package is to clarify Arkansas air pollution control requirements by simplifying the regulatory provisions, consolidating overlapping provisions, and revising or removing confusing language. This effort is expected to facilitate continued trends in achieving clean air goals by providing additional regulatory clarity to our stakeholders and facilities in order to foster compliance with air quality regulations. ADEQ anticipates the streamlined regulation(s) to ultimately result in reduced indirect costs both for the State and for the facilities subject to APC&EC air pollution regulations.
Primary goals for the effort are:
- to remove or update outdated provisions including references to programs that no longer exist, provisions that are no longer applicable, facility names that have changed, and vacated and/or stayed provisions,
- to resolve inconsistencies between the denoted regulations to be replaced and State statutes, APC&EC Regulations, and federal regulations, and
- to increase efficiency in future permitting and regulatory revision actions.
Public and Regulated Community Engagement
ADEQ is engaging with stakeholders prior to filing for initiation with the Commission and proposal of the corresponding SIP revision. In May of 2018, ADEQ sought comment on a strawman regulation that showed one way that Regulations 18, 19, 26, and 31 could be combined to consolidate overlapping provisions, clarify and simplify language, and update outdated provisions. ADEQ hosted a public meeting on June 18, 2018 to provide an overview of the streamlining project and to receive feedback. ADEQ hosted a listening session on August 13, 2018.
In response to comments received on the strawman draft and discussions with stakeholders at subsequent public meetings, ADEQ worked to develop a strategy for continued outreach on regulatory streamlining and to develop guidance to assist the regulated community with the permitting process. The strategy involves the formation of the Regulatory Efficiency and Streamlining Effort (EASE) Collaborative, which brings together interested Arkansans and ADEQ staff to develop solutions to achieve regulatory streamlining goals and produce a permitting guidance to assist the regulated community. The first EASE Collaborative public meeting was held on January 22, 2019.
The Collaborative is open to the public. Two smaller task-focused workgroups—Regulatory Streamlining and Permitting Guidance—meet regularly for brainstorming sessions to develop solutions to present to the broader Collaborative at quarterly meetings. The Collaborative has committed to working to develop a proposal for a more efficient and streamlined regulatory framework in 2019.
The public and regulated community will also have the opportunity to comment on the record once APC&EC initiates rulemaking and ADEQ proposes the SIP revision. ADEQ anticipates filing for initiation with APC&EC after the conclusion of the stakeholder process.