Clean Air and New Source Review: Defining Routine Maintenance

RS21608 -- Clean Air and New Source Review: Defining Routine Maintenance

Updated October 11, 2005


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule on clarifying the definition of routine maintenance under its New Source Review (NSR) process exempts industrial facilities from undergoing NSR if they are replacing safety, reliability, and efficiency rated components with new, functionally equivalent equipment and if the cost of the replacement components is under 20%25 of the replacement value of the process unit. Essentially, the rule permits owners of existing units to maintain and operate their units at their original design specifications without having to undergo NSR, a process that could require a source to meet potentially expensive pollution control requirements. The rule is controversial and being litigated. In December 2003, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked implementation of the rule until it can make a final determination about the case. Legislation being considered in the 109th Congress would permit the rule to go into effect. This paper will be updated as events warrant.