By Goldman Antonetti & Córdova, LLC [Client Alert]
The devastation caused by Hurricane María has left most of the island without the necessary power to continue business operations. As a result, businesses have and continue to rely upon power generators to meet their operational energy demands until the Commonwealth’s power grid is restored. Power generators are considered air emission sources that may be subject to permitting, operational, recordkeeping and reporting standards under applicable federal and local regulations. In view of these requirements, the P.R. Environmental Quality Board (EQB) issued Resolution R-17-22 on September 18, 2017 to establish the EQB’s policy regarding power generators, noise pollution control and solid wastes while the recovery efforts continue and the power service remains unavailable.
For power generators, EQB Resolution R-17-22 allows owners or operators to waive compliance from the hourly and fuel consumption limitations included in the EQB-issued emission source operating permit. In such case, a log must be maintained detailing the period of the power service interruption. All other permit conditions are still applicable.
Power generators that are not authorized by an EQB permit are also allowed to operate if the following conditions are met: (1) the power generator was installed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations (including electrical codes); (2) the owner or operator keeps records of the data, specifications and manufacturer’s certification for the generator’s useful life; (3) before commencing operations, the generator is installed with a non-resettable hour meter; (4) the generator’s exhaust emissions do not exceed 20% opacity; and (5) the owner or operator complies with applicable Commonwealth and federal regulations, including the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant standards for combustion engines (RICE). Note that EQB Resolution 17-22 specified that the daytime and nighttime noise pollution control limits established by the EQB Regulations are applicable to power generators.
The conditional waivers granted in the EQB Resolution 17-22 require careful evaluation to determine applicability and establish effective strategies moving forward to assure and demonstrate continued compliance with these and other relevant environmental standards. The RICE standards also require detailed analysis in view that these standards vary according to generator’s construction/reconstruction dates, mobility and the hours of operation and apply to those operating the units (including lessees). Goldman Antonetti stands ready to assist you and your business in determining whether these waivers apply and how to comply with the applicable Resolution conditions, RICE and regulatory requirements.
Also, the P.R. Aqueduct and Sewer Authority issued a communication on October 3, 2017 extending the terms to submit self-monitoring reports for the months of August, September and October 2017 and any other document that is not deemed urgent (e.g., permit renewals, responses) until November 28, 2017, unless otherwise extended.