The Division of Air Quality has drafted a proposal that would allow air-polluting businesses to begin building their facilities before obtaining an air-quality permit.
Though the rule might make it easier for businesses to get under way, it will not affect air quality, said Burnell Cordner, the division's deputy director."It doesn't change the amount of pollution," Cordner said. "This allows them to get ready while we do our (permitting) review. It allows their process to start a little earlier."
Under the current rule, businesses that pollute cannot begin constructing their facilities until after they get an air-quality permit. Under the proposed rules, the business would simply have to send the Division of Air Quality a "notice of intent" to construct. If the division director finds the notice to be complete, the business may begin construction.
The business could not begin operations, however, until it receives an air-quality permit from the division.
Therefore, businesses that begin construction before actually getting a permit - especially those businesses that would be employing an innovative pollution-control technology - would be taking a risk that their permit would not be granted or would require substantial modification of the constructed facility, Cordner said.
The proposed rule is also quite restrictive. It applies only to polluting businesses that plan to locate in areas of the state that attain federal air-quality standards for the type of pollutants to be emitted by the business.
It also would apply only to "small" polluters whose annual emissions would be less than 50 tons of carbon monoxide, 20 tons of sulfur oxides, 10 tons of particulates, 20 tons of volatile organic compounds, 100 pounds of lead and 10 tons of hazardous air pollutants, including not more than one ton of any one hazardous air pollutant.
The rule would continue to require small businesses to use the "best available control technology" to minimize pollutants.
Hearings on the proposed rule for air-quality permits are scheduled Tuesday, July 13, in Salt Lake City, and Monday, July 19, in Cedar City.