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For information on the permit streamlining initiative, contact:
Kristin Hart
608-266-6876

DRAFT REVISED PAGEAir permit streamlining initiative Air Management Study Group

The DNR Air Program is currently working to simplify and improve the operational efficiency of the air pollution permitting processes while remaining consistent with state statutes and federal Clean Air Act requirements. The streamlining initiative includes revisions to the state rules addressing construction and operation permits (chs. NR 406 and 407, Wis. Adm. Code), as well as limited revisions to the state air toxics rule (ch. NR 445, Wis. Adm. Code).

The initiative involves significant collaboration with the Air Management Study Group, a forum that allows the Air Program to receive input from and provide information to stakeholder organizations. The study group’s participation ensures that the program considers a broad range of interests. This initiative consists of two phases. The first phase was completed in December 2015. The second phase began in late 2016. Refer to the tabs below for more information about each phase.

Phase 1

First phase (finalized Dec. 2015)

The first phase of the streamlining initiative was completed in December 2015. The Air Program formed four workgroups (comprised of Air Management Study Group members as well as other stakeholders) to develop streamlining recommendations.

As a result of the discussions and work performed during the first phase, a new type of registration permit is available. The DNR has issued a Type B registration permit available for facilities with air pollution emissions up to 50 percent of the major source threshold for each of the criteria pollutants. More information can be found in Type B Registration Operation Permit (AM-531) [PDF]. More information on registration permits can be found on Air permit options.

Additional outcomes of the first phase include a natural minor source operation permit exemption, changes to non-Part 70 source permit expiration, a new emergency engine exemption, streamlined permit revocation procedures for closed facilities, and flexibility to use higher sulfur diesel in ch. NR 445.09, Wis. Adm. Code. These changes were finalized in rule revisions effective December 1, 2015 (Clearinghouse Rule 15-005 [PDF]). The workgroup documents below provide more information about these topics and the associated rule revisions.

Workgroup products

The Air Program also revised ch. NR 406, Wis. Adm. Code to exclude certain activities from the definitions of “commence construction” and “commence modification.” However, the program will revisit the topic as part of the second phase of permit streamlining because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not approve the revision as part of Wisconsin's State Implementation Plan (SIP). The EPA determined that DNR’s request to amend the SIP was incomplete, and that the department must show how the revised section is protective of the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

Phase 2

Second phase (beginning late 2016)

The Air Program convened a workgroup for the second phase of the initiative in late 2016. The meeting schedule for the workgroup can be viewed on the Air Management Study Group page.

The second phase of the initiative will include the development of an approach to define the term "cause or exacerbate the violation of an ambient air quality standard or ambient air increment," a phrase which is used throughout the construction and operation permit rules. The Air Program developed a list of additional topics that may be informed by feedback received during public listening sessions. These topics include creating new exemptions (e.g., a like-kind equipment replacement exemption for construction permitting), expanding the usability of the minor permit revision process and creating a process for administrative revision of construction permits.

The Air Program will also revisit the exclusions from the definition of "commence construction," proposed in s. NR 406.03(1e), Wis. Adm. Code. This topic was addressed under the first phase of the initiative, however the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notified DNR that the revised rule language cannot be approved as part of Wisconsin's State Implementation Plan (SIP) as written. The program will consider additional revisions to the exclusions during this phase of permit streamlining.

Workgroup documents

Last revised: Tuesday May 16 2017