by Mark Cramer, PE
Senior Engineer

The Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) rule (40 CFR Parts 2 and 51) is a Federal regulation that requires states, local agencies, and some tribes (collectively known as State, Local and Tribal Authorities or SLTs) to report annual emission data to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The current version requires the SLTs (typically the delegated local air permitting authority) to collect and submit emission data for criteria pollutants (e.g., particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and lead) and precursors (e.g., volatile organic compounds), but does not require Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) reporting.  The current AERR regulation allows for voluntary reporting of HAPs.  Most SLTs report HAPs to the EPA in some format; however, HAP reporting is not always done annually and is deemed by the EPA to be inconsistent, limited and less accurate.  The EPA uses the emissions data collected to create the National Emissions Inventory (NEI), which supports modeling and trends analysis programs used to perform risk analyses and develop regulations to protect human health and the environment, such as New Source Performance Standards (NSPSs) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). 

The EPA proposed to update the AERR rule on July 25, 2023 to require sources meeting certain criteria and/or HAP thresholds to report HAP emissions every year in order to ensure that the EPA has sufficient information to identify and evaluate risks to effectively implement provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA).  These proposed revisions to the AERR were published in the Federal Register on August 9, 2023, and the final rule is anticipated to be promulgated and published sometime this coming summer of 2024.  It is currently anticipated that the first reporting year to be affected will be reporting year 2026 due in 2027.

Under the current AERR, the local permitting authorities report HAP emissions data to the EPA.  These local permitting authorities ascertain this HAP data from their individual permitted industries using permit application information and emission inventories they require from permitted sources using their local individual reporting systems and formats.  Under the proposed revisions to the AERR rule, the HAP emissions reporting default approach is for industry owners/operators to report directly to the EPA using various reporting tools, including Combined Air Emissions Reporting System (CAERS) and Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI).  The proposed revised AERR rule does provide for the SLTs to optionally accept HAP reporting responsibility; however, this will require EPA approval of those local SLT systems and reporting requirements. 

It is difficult to accurately predict how the revised AERR rule will impact industrial facilities, given the current draft rule status, myriad of public comments and complexity of the rule indicated in the 105-page Federal Register publication, EPA Fact Sheets and SLT and industry focus webinar presentations.  However, it is reasonable to anticipate that:

  • HAP reporting will likely be required for some facilities not currently required to report HAPs.
  • HAP reporting will likely be required annually for some facilities that have historically only reported HAPs when modifying or renewing permits.
  • Some facilities will likely be required to report HAP emissions information directly to EPA using EPA system that have historically only reported to local permitting authorities, at least until the SLTs obtain EPA approval for their systems and requirements.
  • There is likely to be confusion in determining what facilities, HAPs, and thresholds require reporting.

How We Can Help
Air quality professionals with The EI Group, Inc. have decades of experience developing HAP emissions inventories for a wide variety of permitting and reporting purposes, as well as working knowledge of EPA and State reporting systems.  EI is available to assist industrial clients determine the site-specific reporting requirements for their individual facilities and complete reporting as required. Should you have questions regarding air permitting or other environmental concerns, please contact Mark Cramer, PE at (919) 459-5229 or [email protected].