Help guide Ecology’s closure of the “Startup-Shutdown-Malfunction” Loophole

EPA has directed the states to close a loophole in the clean air laws that allowed factories to sidestep responsibility if it could be said that their excess emissions happened when equipment was Starting up, Shutting down or Malfunctioning, aka the “SSM Loophole.”

WA Dept of Ecology has an advisory committee, open to anyone, that is writing the rules, and although welcome, there are far too few citizen advocate voices. There actually is stuff that nonspecialists can guide beneficially. The time to connect is now – even between meetings – while the changes are still “soft” and somewhat malleable, because so far the majority of the voices are regulators and polluting industries who want the least stringent interpretations.

If you don’t like the laws, change them

Here’s the invitation and link to documents, direct from the WA Dept of Ecology. I’ll write more of a discussion later and will add items to our calendar. Don’t wait for the meetings, though, to send your thoughts to Ecology – the writing and thinking are happening now and do affect the standards that PTPC adheres to.

Good day.

Stakeholders requested that Ecology extend our timeline for the startup, shutdown, and malfunction rulemaking.  After the last meeting, we realized that we need additional time to discuss issues and to consider your comments. So we are extending our process and adding two stakeholder meetings.  We will continue to offer a call-in number if you would like to participate this way.  Attending in person is always more helpful.

Meeting schedule
·        January 9: 1 to 3 pm
We will continue discussing:
o   changing public notice from newspaper and a physical location to web posting of public notice and draft permit in WAC 173-400-171 and 740, and WAC 173-401-800;
o   emergency provision in WAC 173-401-645;
o   nonroad engines in WAC 173-400-035;
o   process for establishing an alternate emission standard when exceeding a standard in the SIP – WAC 173-400-082

·        February 14: 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Post agenda and draft rule on web site: February 7

·        March 13: 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Post agenda and draft rule on web site: March 6

Refer to our rulemaking web page for more information:

Your involvement in this rulemaking is important to us.  We will continue to update you about this rulemaking effort.


Elena Guilfoil / Air Quality Program / Department of Ecology / / (360)407-6855

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