Environmental and Energy Law Blog

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Permit by Rule Authorizations and New Source Review Permits in Texas

Anyone who wishes to construct or modify a facility that emits air contaminants into the atmosphere must obtain authorization from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). TCEQ’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement is responsible for the enforcement of compliance with all environmental regulations and laws in Texas. In addition, since TCEQ has the authority to administer the Federal Clean Air Act requirements for Texas, it is also the primary enforcement agency for certain federal permits. Authorization from TCEQ comes in several forms, and the timeline for obtaining authorization can range from a few days to several years. Two such forms of authorization are:

  • Permit by rule; and
  • New source review.

Below is an overview of these types of permits.

Permit by Rule

If an operation emits less than a specified amount of air contaminants other than water, carbon dioxide, ethane, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and greenhouse gases, then it may qualify for permit-by-rule. There are 108 individual PBRs that may be claimed, and a facility must meet all established PBR requirements to qualify for authorization.

New Source Review

Owners and operators of facilities that fail to qualify for PBRs or other types of permits have the option of submitting an NSR permit. The early permitting requirements for an NSR involve both a technical review and an administrative review. The technical review involves several steps, including:

  • Source identification;

  • Air emission quantification;

  • Analysis of the impact of emissions; and

  • Determination of best control technology.

Administrative review typically takes less than 30 days for a complete application. After an administrative review has been completed, the applicant is required to publish notice of its application. Following publication, a 30-day comment period begins in which members of the public may submit comments for consideration. Following expiration of the initial 30-day comment period, the applicant must publish a second notice. Following publication of the second notice, a second 30-day comment period commences.

Texas Environmental Law Attorney

At the Law Office of C. William Smalling, we understand what it takes to have environmental permits approved, and we closely monitor our clients’ permit proceedings to ensure that their submissions are consistent and successful. C. William Smalling, with a background in engineering, understands both the technical and legal aspects of the situations affecting corporations in the oil, gas, and energy industries. Whether negotiating with the government or litigating government enforcement actions and private tort suits, the experience of C. William Smalling provides corporate clients with a significant edge in all oil, gas, and energy matters. We take pride in providing our business clients with the legal tools to remain confident while navigating the complicated world of environmental regulations. If your company is facing legal action or simply needs guidance in the area of environmental law, please contact the Law Office of C. William Smalling for a consultation.


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