Sierra Club Questions Validity of Permit's Netting Timeframe
Alexander J. Sagady & Associates
657 Spartan Avenue, East Lansing, MI 48823-3624
VIA EMAILED PDF FILE
August 19, 2008
Ms. Cheryl Newton, Director -Acting
Air and Radiation Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region V
RE: Middletown [OH] Coke Company & Ohio EPA Division of Air Pollution Control -
Violation of Netting Requirements for a Draft Air Permit and Impermissible Minor
Source Permitting of a Major Stationary Source
Dear Ms. Newton:
We are writing on behalf of the Sierra Club of Ohio concerning the proposed Middletown Coke
Company Draft Air Permit to Install that has been published by the Ohio EPA. The public
comment period on the application and draft permit are presently running.
This communication is intended as an air pollution complaint against Middletown Coke Company
and the State of Ohio. The complaint is that those respondents have either applied for or plan to
approve a plainly impermissible and unlawful minor modification air permit to install for
Middletown Coke Company. In reality, what is planned here is the impermissible construction of a
major stationary source of emissions without the required major modification/source permit
covering both prevention of significant deterioration and nonattainment NSR program requirements.
Middletown Coke Company proposes 100 heat recovery coke ovens arranged in 3 batteries, along
with quenching, materials handling and other related operations at a site in Middletown, OH near
AK Steel. The Applicant is seeking a permit to install on the basis of the Applicant’s claim that the
proposed coke oven batteries would be a minor modification, net-out source.
The Applicant’s netting analysis relies on a second quarter 2003 emission reduction from AK Steel
shutdown of its sinter plant1 in order to show a net emission increase below applicable significant
emission levels for all applicable new source review pollutants.
The approved Ohio State Implementation Plan contains Ohio Administrative Code citation,
including a definition of “net emission increase.”2 Approved Ohio SIP rule OAC 3745-31-01(YY)3
specifies the calculation method for the required netting analysis. The rule provides that an
emission reduction is creditable only if it occurs during the defined contemporaneous period. The
“An increase or decrease is actual emissions is contemporaneous with the increase from the
particular change only if it occurs between the date five years before construction on the
particular change commences and the date that the increase from the particular change occurs.”4
The Applicant indicates that October, 2008 is the date of commencement of construction. This
means that the contemporaneous period in compliance with the approved Ohio SIP rule begins in
October, 2003 for purposes of emission reduction creditability, rule compliance and netting analysis.
This is a matter of brightline determination with no room for EPA and Ohio EPA discretion to
approve a varying result.
The AK Steel sinter plant shutdown occurred during the second quarter of 2003. We conclude the
sinter plant shutdown occurred before the start of the contemporaneous period for the Middletown
facility and that the emission reduction from the AK Steel sinter plant shutdown cannot be creditable
in any allowable calculation of the net emission increase or in any netting demonstration.
Ohio EPA plans to issue this impermissible permit to install to Middletown Coke Company that
relies on the complete defective determination of net emission increase in the netting analysis.
With this complaint we ask that U.S. EPA Region V Air and Radiation Division exercise its
supervisory role in the state administration of Federal Clean Air Act requirements. We ask that EPA
take the following actions:
- File adverse comments with Ohio EPA addressing the matter of the improper crediting
of non-contemporaneous emission reductions in the netting analysis and indicating
that the Draft Permit must be denied.
- If Ohio EPA issues the final permit and Middletown Coke Company commences
construction of its facility, the we ask that EPA Region V initiate an enforcement
action against Middletown Coke Company for construction of a major stationary
source without required PSD and nonattainment-NSR permit to install.
For purposes of a reply, please send any response to:
Sierra Club Ohio Chapter
515 Wyoming Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45215
If you should have any questions about this letter and complaint, please don’t hesitate to contact
Alexander J. Sagady at (517)332-6971.
Thanks for your time in considering; and responding to this complaint.
SIERRA CLUB OHIO CHAPTER
Marilyn Wall, National Sierra Club Board Member
Alexander J. Sagady, Environmental Consultant
1 See Securities and Exchange Commission report discussion of sinter plant at:
3 The present version of this rule is at OAC 3745-31-01(TTT)
4 Approved Ohio SIP Rule OAC 3745-31-01(YY)(3)(a); current rule is presently OAC