Federal Air Rules for Reservations Frequently Asked Questions
Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR)
Regional Tribal Air Information
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Outdoor Burning Rules
Dust and Odor
FARR and the Tribal New Source Review Rule
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Question: I have a complaint about my neighbor burning garbage whose smoke is bothering me? Is there something that can be done about it?
Response: Yes there is something that you can do. If your neighbor is located within the external boundaries of one of the reservations covered under the FARR, your neighbor is not allowed to burn garbage. They can burn paper or natural vegetation like brush. These must be as dry as possible to reduce smoke density. You can either call the FARR Hotline at 1-800- 424-4372 or contact your local tribal agency which deals with air quality issues. We will get the appropriate information from you and then make contact with your neighbor and let them know about the rules regarding outdoor burning.
Question: If I call in and have a complaint about a neighbor can my identity be kept secret?
Response: Yes we have a system for handling complaints for protecting the identity of the person making the complaint. While the complainant can choose to be anonymous when you contact us to complain, we will ask for your name, address and phone number so that we can get back to you with any further questions and to let you know of the outcome. This information will be held in confidence if that is your desire.
Question: Are the Rules of FARR applicable to any other Regions of the Country other than Region 10?
Response: The FARR only covers 39 reservations in the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. This was established by an EPA Regulation which came into effect in June, 2005. Other regions could work to adopt or develop a Federal Air Rules program like FARR but none have to date . ( 5/2007)
Question: How do I find out whether I am covered under the Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR)?
Response: If you live or have a business within the external boundaries of one of the 39 reservations listed in the FARR then you are covered under the FARR. If there is a question pertaining to this you can call the FARR hotline and ask for them to determine whether the FARR applies to you. The Hotline number is 1-800-424-4372.
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Outdoor Burning Rules
Question: Why can’t I burn Garbage?
Response: Garbage generally contains many different types of materials like plastic and metals which can create chemicals in the combustion of the fire and be carried into the air and into our lungs. These chemicals are particularly dangerous to the more vulnerable segments of our population like the elderly or the young. We also know that even the traditional garbage when burned will produce dioxins that are chemicals which can cause cancer. Garbage burning off reservations has been banned for some time, and the FARR levels the playing field and ensures a consistent level of regulation and public health protection.
Question: I own a house on the reservation and want the Fire Department to burn it down for Fire Training. Is that permissible under the Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR) and if so how do I do this?
Response: It is permissible to burn down a structure for Fire Training purposes. You must contact the local fire agency and confirm that they want to use your structure for this purpose. If they agree, they must get permission from the EPA or delegated authority to do this. Also, appropriate steps must be taken to ensure there is no asbestos or other hazardous material in the structure at the time of the training. For additional information call 1-800-424-4372.
Question: Can I burn garbage?
Response: A person must not burn garbage outdoors, or allow open burning of, the following prohibited materials:
• Dead animals or parts of dead animals
• Junked motor vehicles or any materials resulting from a salvage operation
• Tires or rubber materials or products
• Plastics, plastic products or Styrofoam
• Asphalt or composition roofing, or any other asphaltic material or product
• Tar, tar paper, petroleum products, or paints
• Paper, paper products, or cardboard, except paper which is generated and burned at a single –family residence or residential building with four or fewer dwelling units.
• Lumber or timbers treated with preservatives
• Construction debris or demolition waste
• Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or other chemicals
• Insulated wire
• Light bulbs
• Materials containing mercury (e.g., thermometers)
• Asbestos or asbestos-containing materials
• Pathogenic wastes
• Hazardous wastes
• Any material that normally emits dense smoke or noxious fumes when burned
For more information about burn bans consult the FARR burn ban page.
Question: I burn my garbage in a burn barrel. Doesn’t that make it safe for burning?
Response: A burn barrel may confine the burning area of what you want to burn and make it safer from a fire safety perspective. From a health safety standpoint it does not make it safe. In fact the burn barrel can produce a condition where less complete combustion at lower temperatures with less oxygen can occur and the formation of more of the toxic chemicals is possible.
Question: Can I burn brush?
Response: Yes, provided the brush is dry and no burn ban has been called for your area, the fire must be watched carefully and not allowed to smolder or smoke. You should always check with local authorities for any other local rules or permit requirements that could apply, because the FARR open burning rule does not affect the applicability of other fire safety requirements or local ordnances or rules.
Read the fact sheet for the Section 131 Open Burning Rule (PDF) (2 pp. 46K).
Question: I own property and it has a structure on it that is not useful any more. Can I burn it down to get rid of it?
Response: If your property is located within the external boundaries of one of the Indian Reservations under the FARR, then you can not burn down the structure. It is possible for the structure to be used for fire training by the local fire agency if that fire agency agrees to do it. You need to check with them. You should make reference to the rules for outdoor burning for what can be burned and what can not. If your property is outside the external boundaries of the Reservation then the FARR does not apply and you need to check with the State or local agencies to determine their rules regarding this.
Question: What does the FARR say about fireworks?
Response: Consumers need to follow the local city, fire district and tribal safety regulations, of which many limit fireworks to a specified day or days of the year.
Businesses selling fireworks are allowed to burn excess fireworks once a year with permission from the EPA or the delegated Tribe for the Reservation. Call 1-800-424-4372 for specific information.
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Question: To whom does this rule apply?
Response: This rule is for each of the Indian reservations specified in the FARR. The rule applies to facilities or businesses which release pollutants into the air. This includes any Clean Air Act Title V (also called Part 71) facility that must meet the standards in Section 111 or Section 112 of the Clean Air Act for registration of air pollution sources (PDF) (2 pp. 44K).
The rule does not apply to the following air pollution sources:
- Air pollution sources that do not have the potential to emit more than two tons per year of any air pollutant.
- Mobile sources.
- Single – family residences and residential buildings with four or fewer apartments or living units.
- Air conditioning units used for human comfort and that do not release manufacturing or industrial process pollutants in the air.
- Furnaces and boiler used only for space heating with a rated heat input capacity of less than 400,000 British thermal units (Btu’s) per hour.
- Cooking of food, except for wholesale businesses that both cook and sell cooked food.
- Consumer use of office equipment and products.
- Janitorial services and consumer use of janitorial products.
- Maintenance and repair activities, except for air pollution sources that maintain and repair equipment as a business.
- Agricultural, forestry and silvicultural activities including burning ( for clarification call 1-800-424-4372)
- Open burning.
Question: What is the purpose of this rule?
Response: The purpose of the rule for the registration of air pollution sources (PDF) (2 pp. 44K) and the reporting of emissions is to require persons who own or operate sources of air pollution within Indian reservations covered by the FARR to register those sources with EPA and to report air pollutant emissions annually to EPA. This information will assist the EPA and the Tribe better understand the sources of air pollution within the Reservation.
Question: How do I determine if I need to register my business?
Response: Our FARR Registration Program page will help you determine whether you need to register your business.
Question: What does Potential to Emit (PTE) mean?
Response: Potential to emit means the maximum capacity of an air pollution source to emit an air pollutant under its physical and operational design. Any physical or operational limitation on the capacity of the air pollution source to emit an air pollutant, including air pollution control equipment and restrictions on hours of operation or on the type or amount of material combusted, stored, or processed, is treated as part of its design only if the limitation or the effect it would have on emissions is enforceable.
Potential to emit example: Concrete Batch Plant
Actual: The typical operating schedule of the plant is 7.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday through Friday. Busiest months are April through November during these months average production is 25 cubic yards of concrete per day. Between December and March production averages 10 cubic yards per day.
Total annual production for the plant is 5138 cubic yards.
Actual annual PM10 Emissions for 5138 cubic yards are determined using the appropriate AP 42 emission factors at 0.33 tons.
Potential: The plant has an operating capacity of 50 cu yards/hour of concrete.
Therefore the plant has an annual potential to produce 8760 x 50 = 438,000 cubic yards. of concrete, with potential PM10 emissions of 28.12 tons.
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Dust and Odor
Question: The farm next to my house is harvesting their crops. The tractors and equipment that goes near my house is stirring up dust and affecting the air I breathe. Can anything be done?
Response: The Federal Air Rules for Reservations does not regulate fugitive dust related to agriculture activities. There is no direct enforcement that the EPA can do with regard to this activity. For more information, visit the fugitive particulate matter under the FARR Web page or call 1-800-424-4372.
Question: Does the FARR cover odors?
Response: No, odors are not covered by FARR, however odors may emanate from a burn site or industrial process that may be registered under the FARR. Observations with comments, dates, pictures or video can aid the FARR team in investigating any complaint.
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FARR and the Tribal New Source Review Rule
Question: The FARR and the proposed Tribal New Source Review (NSR) rule are both described as Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs). What is the difference?
Response: Under the Clean Air Act, rules and programs that are designed to protect ambient air quality generally fall within the scope of section 110 Implementation Plans. Implementation Plans can include everything from source-specific requirements, to area-specific plans, to generally-applicable rules. The FARR is a set of rules that apply to 39 specific Reservations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. These rules comprise a basic plan for protecting air quality within those Reservations – essentially 39 FIPs. The proposed Tribal NSR rule is a generally-applicable rule that would apply throughout Indian country – essentially a FIP element for all of Indian country.
Question: The FARR and the proposed Tribal NSR rules both include provisions for delegation to Tribes. What, if any, differences are there between the two rules?
Response: The requirements and procedures for delegation are essentially the same for both sets of rules. The delegation provisions in the proposed Tribal NSR rule were actually patterned after the FARR delegation provisions.
Question: Do the FARR and the proposed Tribal NSR rule apply to the same areas?
Response: No. The FARR applies only within the exterior boundaries of 39 specific Reservations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The proposed Tribal NSR rule would apply everywhere in Indian country as that term is defined in federal law. Essentially, the proposed Tribal NSR rule would apply within all federally recognized Indian reservations including land held in trust for a Tribe, all dependent Indian communities, and all Indian allotments that have not been extinguished.
Question: The FARR does not apply to off-Reservation trust land or new Reservations until EPA goes through rulemaking. Would EPA have to do similar rulemakings to make the Tribal NSR rule apply to such trust lands or Reservations?
Answer: No. The proposed Tribal NSR rule is a generally-applicable FIP that applies everywhere in Indian Country, including off-Reservation trust land, new Reservations, or new lands placed into trust.
Question: Do the FARR and the proposed Tribal NSR rule apply to the same sources?
Answer: No. The FARR applies generally to all sources of air pollution within the 39 reservations. The proposed Tribal minor NSR rule would only apply to stationary sources that exceed the size thresholds specified in the rule.
Question: Do new sources have to get approvals under the proposed Tribal NSR rule and register under the FARR Registration rule?
Answer: Yes for some sources, but the requirements of the two rules are quite different. Under the proposed Tribal NSR rule, new sources that exceed the size thresholds would need to apply for and obtain a NSR permit before they can begin actual construction. Under the FARR, new sources that exceed the size thresholds and locate within the exterior boundaries of a Reservation will need to submit an initial registration to EPA within 90 days of commencing operation. Because the proposed Tribal NSR rule and the FARR Registration rule have different size thresholds, some sources that will not need to get NSR permits will still need to register. After the Tribal NSR rule is finalized, Region 10 will evaluate the coverage of both rules and determine if the FARR Registration rule should be revised.
Question: The FARR Non-Title V Operating Permit rule and the proposed Tribal NSR rule both include provisions for sources to request limits on their potential to emit. Are these provisions different and should they be used in different situations?
Answer: The provisions for obtaining limits on a source’s potential to emit are essentially the same for both rules. Sources within the 39 Reservations where the FARR applies could request limits under either rule. However limits needed to keep new sources or modifications from triggering major source permitting requirements should generally be requested under the provisions of the Tribal NSR rule after it is finalized. Limits to keep entire sources from being major sources should generally be requested under the FARR non-Title V Operating Permit rule. After the Tribal NSR rule is finalized, Region 10 will evaluate the coverage of both rules and determine if the FARR Non-Title V Operating Permit rule should be revised.