The SCAQMD has a ginormous amount of rules, but they all have one thing in common: They follow the same format and structure (more or less).
So, in preparation for your next rule-hunting expedition, we’re going to help you understand how the SCAQMD’s rules and regulations are structured.
The Macro View of Rules and Regulations
The first point to know is that all 385 rules in the SCAQMD rulebook are organized into one of 28 regulations. For example, Regulation II contains all the rules relating to air permits and the permitting process, Regulation III contains all the rules related to permitting fees, and Regulation XX contains all the rules pertaining to the Regional Clean Air Initiatives Market, or RECLAIM program.
Let’s break that down further to see how rules and regulations relate to one another. If you look at SCAQMD Regulation XI, you’ll see that all of its rules relate to a specific source of air pollution and detail all the emissions standards that certain pieces of equipment must follow, such as emission limits, testing, reporting, recordkeeping, etc. Rule 1147, which is found in Regulation XI, focuses on miscellaneous sources of NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions.
To make it even more helpful, rules tend to be named with very specific titles, making it easy to scan the list of titles to find what you’re looking for. At Envera, we call our scanning process the “spur-and-slide” technique.
Administrative vs. Non-Administrative Rules
SCAQMD rules generally fall into two categories: administrative or non-administrative. The bulk of the rules in the SCAQMD rulebooks falls under the non-administrative category, which means these rules detail the requirements that equipment must meet.
Administrative rules outline how a certain program or process will work. For example, Regulation V contains all the rules related to how the agency’s Hearing Board must conduct their operations and how regulated entities file petitions and/or documents to the Hearing Board.
Administrative rules can be further broken down into the categories of market based-rules and command-and-control rules. Market-based rules dictate the cost of emitting pollutants, such as the fees associated with emitting one pound of NOx. Command-and-control rules, on the other hand, simply state what is and what is not permitted within a certain industry, such as the types of required control technology and emission limits. If the SCAQMD wants to make an emissions standard more stringent — in other words, lower the allowable emission limit — the agency simply updates a command-and-control rule to set those new requirements.
Organization of Individual Rules
If you compare individual federal, state, and local rules to each other, you’ll find that they are all written in the same structure. That makes it a little less daunting when you have to dig through unfamiliar materials, such as regulations in other states or regions. Each rule contains information on:
- definition of terms
- rule requirements
As the name applies, this section explains what equipment is subject to the rule in which it is found. Applicability can be based on equipment type or size, or when it was installed. For example, SCAQMD Rule 1153.1 applies to commercial bakery ovens that were installed and permitted before November 7, 2015. Rule 1147 applies to equipment that emits NOx that are not regulated by another Regulation XI rule, Rule 1110.2, which applies to engines that are more than 50 horsepower. Rule 1470 applies only to diesel-fired compression ignition engines.
Rule titles tend to be fairly descriptive — the title of Rule 1147, for example, is NOx Reductions From Miscellaneous Sources — but the applicability generally digs a little deeper to explain the true gist of the rule.
Definition of Terms
This section is pretty much a glossary of the terminology used within a given rule. Context is everything, so you want to be sure you’re correctly interpreting the meaning of the rule.
When I worked in refining, one of the examples I used to run into was Rule 1173’s definition of a “heavy liquid.” Many of my colleagues in the industry understood that term to mean something other than what the rule intended. But if you actually look at the rule’s definition of terms, you will see that the rule defines a heavy liquid as one that has a VOC (volatile organic compounds) content that is 10 percent or less when measured using a specific test method. Another example is the definition of standard temperature and pressure, for which there are actually two standards (depending on what industry you are in). So as knowledgeable as you may be, it’s important to put aside your preconceived definitions and take the time to read the definition of terms.
This is really the crux of the entire rule, detailing what you can and you cannot do in order to comply. A command-and-control rule, for example, might specify emission limits, as well as how to demonstrate compliance with these limits and what sort of monitoring and recordkeeping must be conducted.
Even though this is the final section of a given rule, we usually recommend reading this section directly after the applicability section, because even though the title of a rule might suggest that a piece of equipment will be subject to a rule, this section might tell you otherwise. So you can potentially save yourself some brain pain by skipping the middle bits and jumping right to the exemptions section. Who knows? You might be one of the lucky exempt.
Let’s take Rule 1110.2 (i)(1)(A), which states that “all orchard wind machines powered by an internal combustion engine” are exempt. So even though the Applicability section may sound like it pertains to you, all those orchard wind machines you were worried about? They’re exempt. [Fist-pump.]
That’s another nuance rule applicability: There can be times when a piece of equipment can be entirely exempt from a rule or just partially exempt, meaning you don’t have to comply with some parts of the rule.
Take Rule 431.1, for example. If you have a piece of equipment that emits less than five pounds per day of sulfur compounds, calculated as H2S, then you are entirely exempt from the regulation — you don’t have to comply with any of the requirements. If, however, you are over that five-pound limit, you need to comply.
The twist comes with cases like Rule 1155, which detail certain situations where you don’t have to meet the emission limit but must still comply with the maintenance and recordkeeping portions of the rule. From section (g)(1):
With the exception of paragraph (d)(1), any baghouse for which the filter surface area is less than or equal to 100 square feet is exempt from the provisions of this rule.
Section (d)(1) requires that no visible emissions be emitted from the equipment. So if you meet those requirements, congrats! You’re exempt.