On November, 30, 2012, EPA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to reconsider certain new source and startup and shutdown issues as they apply to the national air pollution standards for utilities and industrial steam-generating units. As background, in February 2012, the Agency  published final rule “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) from coal- and oil-fired electric utility, industrial-commercial-institutional, and small industrial-commercial-institutional steam generating units.” The NESHAP rule was issued under the Clean Air Act and is most often referred to as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The new source performance standards (NSPS) being reconsidered are often referred to as the Utility NSPS.

EPA received petitions for reconsideration of aspects of the MATS and the Utility NSPS. In response, the Agency is reconsidering the requirements applicable during periods of startup and shutdown for MATS, the startup and shutdown provisions related to the particulate matter (PM) standard in the Utility NSPS, and certain revisions to “definitional and monitoring” provisions of the Utility NSPS. Finally, EPA is proposing technical corrections to the MATS and the Utility NSPS.

The Agency says it will accept comments on the aspects of the final MATS and Utility NSPS rules specifically identified in the Federal Register notice. Other aspects of the rules are not open for comment. Comments must be received on or before December 31, 2012. In addition, EPA will hold a public meeting on December 18, 2012, if anyone contacts the Agency by December 10 requesting to speak at the hearing.

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