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General Description

Depending on the location of the source and what the source emits, permits to construct and/or operate sources of air emissions are needed. Operating permits may be referred to as a Title V permit.

Summary of Federal Requirements

Operating Permits

Owners/operators of major sources some minor sources are required to apply for an operating permit (i.e., a Title V Permit). What constitutes a major source varies according to what type of permit is involved, the pollutant(s) being emitted, and the attainment designation of the area where the source is located. In general, a source is major if its emissions exceed certain thresholds that are defined in terms of tons per year. For example, under Title V of the Clean Air Act, any source that emits or has the potential to emit 100 tons per year or more of any criteria air pollutant is a major source and must obtain a Title V operating permit.

The purpose of title V permits is to reduce violations of air pollution laws and improve enforcement of those laws. Title V permits typically:

  • record in one document all of the air pollution control requirements that apply to the source. This gives members of the public, regulators, and the source a clear picture of what the facility is required to do to keep its air pollution under the legal limits.
  • require the source to make regular reports on how it is tracking its emissions of pollution and the controls it is using to limit its emissions. These reports are public information, and you can get them from the permitting authority.
  • add monitoring, testing, or record keeping requirements, where needed to assure that the source complies with its emission limits or other pollution control requirements.
  • require the source to certify each year whether or not it has met the air pollution requirements in its title V permit. These certifications are public information.
  • make the terms of the title V permit federally enforceable. This means that EPA and the public can enforce the terms of the permit, along with the State.

Construction Permits

Construction of new stationary sources of air pollution or major modifications of existing sources require a construction permit which is also known as a New Source Review (NSR) permit. NSR permits require the installation and maintenance of pollution control devices. Large sources in polluted areas must reduce pollution or buy credits from another company that has reduced its emissions.

Summary of State Requirements

Most permits are issued by State and local permitting authorities. Title V permits are often called part 70 permits because the regulations that establish minimum standards for State permit programs are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR part 70.

State-by-state guidance concerning air permits can be found at CICA's State and Regional Regulatory Information Tool.

State-by-state guidance concerning air emissions can be found at ENVCAP's Air Pollution State Resource Locator.

Laws and Statutes

The Clean Air Act

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Regulatory Sources
40 CFR 70
State Operating Permit Programs

State Air Permit Guidance
State-by-State information on air permits.

CAA 112(r) Frequently Asked Questions

CAA Risk Management Program Guidance
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Last Updated: December 01, 2017