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Watchdog Win: GASP Appeal Leads to Change in Eastman Chemical Permit

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) has previously blogged about Eastman Chemical Resins, Inc.’s plant in Jefferson Hills Borough. For those who are unfamiliar: Eastman’s plant is one of two major sources of air pollution in Allegheny County that has never had a Title V Operating Permit issued to it by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), even though ACHD’s own regulations required it to issue such a permit by November 2004.

Further, Eastman was the subject of a federal enforcement action in 2011; the order that resolved that action required Eastman to comply with a comprehensive testing and permitting process that has been ongoing for more than eight years.

On Oct. 11, 2019, GASP formally appealed an installation permit issued by ACHD for the Water White Poly Process Unit at Eastman’s plant. The installation permit purportedly was to comply with the court order that resolved the 2011 enforcement action, and to authorize changes to, and increased production by, the process unit.

GASP appealed the installation permit because it did not include applicable requirements imposed by Subpart FFFF of the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants, which applies to “Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing” (“Subpart FFFF”).

Both the Clean Air Act and ACHD’s own regulations require sources to comply with all applicable National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.  Indeed, ACHD omitted the applicable requirements from Eastman’s installation permit despite acknowledgements by both ACHD and Eastman that the process unit was in fact subject to those requirements.

We are happy to report that as a result of our appeal, ACHD has revised the installation permit for the Water White Poly Process Unit so that it expressly requires Eastman to operate that unit in compliance with all applicable provisions of Subpart FFFF.  Obviously, this should prevent Eastman from attempting any argument that those provisions do not apply to it because they were omitted from its permit.

-John Baillie, GASP Staff Attorney

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