On Sept. 8, 2021, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM Notice”) addressing possible future regulation of pyrolysis and gasification units under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

Pyrolysis and gasifying can promote a “circular economy” for plastics, where post-consumer plastic products can be recycled to produce a plastic of equal or similar quality rather than being discarded. Both pyrolysis and gasification can convert solid or semi-solid feedstocks into useful products such as energy, fuels, and chemical commodities.

Potentially regulated entities include the manufacturers of the following products: wood, pulp, paper, paperboard, furniture, chemicals and allied products, plastics and rubber products, cement, nonmetallic mineral products, and fishing operations. Additional regulated entities include solid waste combustion units decomposing municipal solid waste, oil and gas exploration operations, mining operators, pipeline operators, utility providers, private hospitals and health care facilities including commercial research companies, and commercial waste disposal companies.

Many existing operations that incorporate pyrolysis and gasification have been regulated by the EPA under Section 129 of the CAA, which imposes certain emissions guidelines and performance standards for the various types of solid waste incinerators. But pyrolysis and gasification have been inconsistently defined and managed under the existing Section 129 rules. Therefore, the EPA published its ANPRM Notice because it believes “there is considerable confusion in the regulated community regarding the applicability of CAA Section 129 to pyrolysis and gasification units.”

The EPA set Nov. 8, 2021, as the deadline to submit public comments. Because the ANPRM Notice could lead to new rules for pyrolysis and gasification units as well as to changes in pending and existing Section 129 rules, industries that use pyrolysis or gasification should consider submitting comments to the EPA prior to the deadline.

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Photo of Hazel Ocampo Hazel Ocampo

Hazel Ocampo is an Environmental, Natural Resources, and Land Use attorney, guiding clients through the intricacies of federal, state, and local regulations including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CEQA, Superfund, RCRA, the Endangered Species Act, and California’s Proposition 65.

Hazel…

Hazel Ocampo is an Environmental, Natural Resources, and Land Use attorney, guiding clients through the intricacies of federal, state, and local regulations including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CEQA, Superfund, RCRA, the Endangered Species Act, and California’s Proposition 65.

Hazel regularly conducts audits and defends companies subject to government agency investigations and enforcement regarding alleged violations of environmental regulations. Specifically, Hazel handles administrative enforcement actions before the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Department of Environmental Health, and the Air Pollution Control District. She also advises clients on a variety of compliance matters, renewable energy, real estate due diligence (Phase I/Phase II), and universal and hazardous waste regulations.

Photo of Michael Cooke Michael Cooke

Board Certified in State & Federal Government and Administrative Practice, Michael G. Cooke concentrates his practice in administrative law, including environmental, utility, and land use law. He represents industrial, agricultural, banking, government, and developer clients on matters involving clean air, climate change, electric…

Board Certified in State & Federal Government and Administrative Practice, Michael G. Cooke concentrates his practice in administrative law, including environmental, utility, and land use law. He represents industrial, agricultural, banking, government, and developer clients on matters involving clean air, climate change, electric generating facilities, renewable energy, telecommunications, utility plant and transmission line siting, water, and wastewater issues and permitting and zoning matters.

From 2003 to 2006, Michael was the Director of the Division of Air Resource Management for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In this position, he managed the air quality program for the State of Florida, interacting with federal and local agencies and over-seeing permitting and enforcement matters and the development of state air regulations. Michael also served as General Counsel for the Florida Public Service Commission in Tallahassee from 2006 through 2008. His responsibilities at the Public Service Commission included conduct of rate cases, rulemaking, enforcement proceedings, and decision-making involved with policy issues regarding nuclear facility site cost recovery and renewable energy.

Michael has represented clients in connection with numerous environmental regulatory matters, particularly in air permitting and compliance issues. He has represented electric utilities, manufacturing, and agricultural entities in connection with various Title V and New Source Review matters. He is well versed in CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, water, and solid waste matters.