12.7.06 General Shale.let.pdf

December 7, 2006

Nisha Sizemore, Chief
Permits Branch
Office of Air Quality
Indiana Department of
Environmental Management
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Re: General Shale Brick, Inc.

Dear Ms. Sizemore:

On August 14, 2006, I sent you a letter expressing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) concerns with the General Shale Brick, Inc. Significant Source/Permit Modification (Permit nos. 109-22584-00002 and 109-22865-00002). More specifically, I suggested that issuance of the proposed permit could constitute circumvention of the non-attainment new source review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting requirements, in violation of the Clean Air Act and applicable requirements.

Subsequently, we examined additional materials related to General Shale’s proposal. We also reviewed additional EPA policy documents. We found that while EPA has issued guidance on circumvention, as cited in our August 14, 2006 letter, this guidance does not squarely address the particular facts of this case. In the absence of more definitive EPA guidance on this issue, we have determined that Indiana reasonably exercised its discretion as a NSR/PSD permitting authority to issue the Title V and construction permits as it did in this situation. It is our understanding that General Shale plans to install sulfur dioxide control equipment to comply with the applicable MACT standards at 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart JJJJJ, which will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions below the major source threshold for this source, that it intends to continue to comply with all emission and operational limits on its original brick manufacturing lines, and that historically it has not operated its brick manufacturing facility to emit major source levels of nitrogen oxides.

EPA’s determination that Indiana exercised reasonable discretion is based on the narrow, case-specific facts and unique circumstances present in this situation. In addition, given the case-specific nature of such determinations, we encourage you and your staff to consult with us when making future decisions in this regulatory area.

For future permits, we recommend that Indiana include appropriate testing requirements consistent with EPA guidance to ensure continuing compliance with relevant emission limits. Finally, it should be noted that should General Shale exceed its synthetic minor limits in the future, full review of the permitting requirements for NSR and PSD for the new brick line could be required.

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please feel free to call me at
(312) 886-4447.

Sincerely yours,


Pamela Blakley, Chief
Air Permits Section

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