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Pennsylvania Air Quality Permits

The PPL Montour power plant in Pennsylvania.

The PPL Montour power plant in Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy of Road Less Traveled / Flickr

Case Overview

As a result of a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Clean Air Council, and PennEnvironment, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have updated and strengthened air quality permits for coal plants across the state.

Major sources of air pollution must obtain Title V permits (under Title V of the Clean Air Act and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act) authorizing their operation.

These permits serve as an invaluable tool for citizens seeking to understand plant operations and the often complex interplay of regulatory requirements that protect the public health. Air pollution requirements may be enforced by government and citizens alike, and the timely issuance of Title V permits provides an opportunity for citizens to be heard regarding ongoing pollution issues—and even to petition the United States Environmental Protection Agency to object to a permit that is inadequately protective.

Title V permits are generally valid for five years, at which point they must be renewed to incorporate any new regulations. Sources must apply for permit renewal from six to eighteen months in advance of their current permit expiration. By law, DEP must then act on applications within 18 months of submission of a complete application. Proposed Title V permits are also published for public comment in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, offering the public meaningful notice and an opportunity to be heard.

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