Environmental activist groups recently petitioned the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (the “EQC”) to enact far-reaching rules that would regulate air emissions from so-called indirect sources in cities and metropolitan districts with populations of 50,000 or more. The petition identifies an indirect source as any facility, building, structure, or installation that attracts mobile sources (vehicles), and includes construction sites, hospitals, development projects, office buildings, ports, warehouses, retail facilities, and schools. Construction and operating permits would be required for certain indirect sources.
Construction permits would be required for projects that exceed certain sizes (e.g., a permanent commercial, industrial, or residential structure of at least 10,000 square feet) or values (over $1 million and exceeding certain air pollutant emission thresholds for particulate matter (“PM”), nitrous oxides (“NOx”) and greenhouse gases). A construction permit would limit average hourly and daily emissions from certain vehicles; if the limits could not be met, then the permit applicant must reduce construction emissions by certain percentages. An operating permit may also be required for a new and existing indirect source that meets certain emission thresholds due to mobile source activity associated with the indirect source, or that exceeds other criteria related to vehicle trips, aggregate engine power, or diesel and gas consumption used in any 24-hour period. The applicant must show that the average emissions from mobile sources associated with the source meet certain emission standards for PM, NOx, and greenhouse gases; if the emissions exceed those standards, the source must implement a mitigation plan to meet the required reductions. Continue Reading