Legal and Policy Updates: February 7, 2020

by Feb 7, 2020

Air Permits

Below are air permits up for public comment across the state. If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved, please email me at [email protected] or call me at 205-701-4272.

County*

Facility

Type of permit

Date posted**

Jefferson

Big Sky Landfill

Title V (major)

1/2/2020

Jefferson

Reno Refractories

True Minor

1/19/2020

Marengo

WestRock Mill Company, LLC

Title V (major)

1/24/2020

Winston

Fontaine Trailer Company

Title V (major)

1/17/2020

Chambers

Knauf Insulation, Inc.

Title V (major)

1/14/2020

Butler

Coastal Forest Products, LLC

Title V (major)

1/13/2020

Franklin

Tiffin Motorhomes

Title V (major)

2/6/2020

Washington

Bay Gas Storage Company, LLC

Title V (major)

2/5/2020

 

*Jefferson county air permitting is handled by the Jefferson County Dep’t of Health and the City of Huntsville air permitting is handled by the Huntsville Dep’t of Natural Resources. All other counties are handled by the Alabama Dep’t of Environmental Management.

**For Title V permits, comments are due 30 days from the posted day. For other permits, the comment deadline is 15 days from the posted date. Extensions and public hearings can be requested within those time frames.

State Legislation

The legislative session started this week. The list from last week grew, so you can access the full list here.

The big news this week is Cam Ward introduced SB57, which would repeal and replace Ala. Code § 36-12-40 and § 36-12-41 (the Open Records Act). As the synopsis reads: “This bill would repeal existing law providing access to public records and replace it with a new Alabama Public Records Act with provisions establishing the rights of citizens to access public records, enumerating exceptions to disclosure, establishing procedures for making and responding to requests for access, setting the charges associated with responding to requests, establishing a Public Access Counselor within the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, creating administrative and judicial remedies, and establishing civil penalties for noncompliance.”

We will update you more in the coming months, but we have previously posted about Gasp’s issues in getting public records from various entities in Alabama. We are actively following developments in SB57 and will keep you all updated as well.

Local Policy

This week, Birmingham City Councilor Clinton Woods (District 1) announced that he is hosting a conference to discuss the feasibility and details of Birmingham being connected to the high-speed I-20 eXpress line that will eventually stretch from Atlanta to Dallas.  The conference will be March 19, 2020 at the BJCC. You can read more here.

Federal Legislation and Policy

A final rule was published in the Federal Register this week (85 Fed. Reg. 24 (February 5, 2020)) affecting processes and content for Petitions to Object to Title V permits (Title V petitions). The final rule, which goes into effect April 6, 2020, basically does 3 things:

  1. Establishes an electronic submittal system for petitions (and e-mail and physical mail being alternate routes to submit petitions);
  2. Incorporate certain content and format requirements into the regulations;
  3. EPA is now requiring that permitting agencies prepare a written response to comments (RTC) document if significant comments are received during the public participation process on a draft permit, and the permitting agency must sent the RTC, where applicable, to EPA as part of the permit record during EPA’s 45 day review period.

This is a helpful graphic on the lifecycle of a Title V permit and where Petitions to Object fit in. We have blogged about this before here, and you can also read our Petition to Object to ABC Coke’s permit that we submitted to the EPA Administrator in June of 2019 here.

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