New Source Review (NSR) Permitting

Clean Air Act Permitting for Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the largest stationary sources were, for the first time, covered by the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and title V Operating Permit Programs beginning on January 2, 2011.  These permitting programs, required under the Clean Air Act, are proven tools for protecting air quality and the same tools will be used to reduce GHG emissions. 

EPA’s GHG Tailoring Rule, issued in May 2010, established a common sense approach to permitting GHG emissions under PSD and Title V. The rule set initial emission thresholds - known as Steps 1 and 2 of the Tailoring Rule - for PSD and Title V permitting based on carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.

Step 3 of the GHG Tailoring Rule, issued on June 29, 2012, continued to focus GHG permitting on the largest emitters by retaining the permitting thresholds that were established in Steps 1 and 2. In addition, the Step 3 rule improved the usefulness of plantwide applicability limitations (PALs) by allowing GHG PALs to be established on CO2e emissions, in addition to the already available mass emissions PALs, and to use the CO2e-based applicability thresholds for GHGs provided in the "subject to regulation" definition in setting the PAL on a CO2e basis. The rule also revised the PAL regulations to allow a source that emits or has the potential to emit at least 100,000 tons per year of CO2e, but that has minor source emissions of all other regulated NSR pollutants, to apply for a GHG PAL while still maintaining its minor source status.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA

On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014) (“UARG”).  The Court held that EPA may not treat GHGs as an air pollutant for purposes of determining whether a source is a major source required to obtain a PSD or title V permit. The Court also held that PSD permits that are otherwise required (based on emissions of other pollutants) may continue to require limitations on GHG emissions based on the application of Best Available Control Technology (BACT). In accordance with the Supreme Court decision, on April 10, 2015, the D.C. Circuit issued an amended judgment in Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. EPA, Nos. 09-1322, 10-073, 10-1092 and 10-1167 (D.C. Cir. April 10, 2015), which, among other things, vacated the PSD and title V regulations under review in that case to the extent that they require a stationary source to obtain a PSD or title V permit solely because the source emits or has the potential to emit GHGs above the applicable major source thresholds. The D.C. Circuit also directed EPA to consider whether any further revisions to its regulations are appropriate in light of UARG, and if so, to undertake to make such revisions. In response to the Supreme Court decision and the D.C. Circuit’s amended judgment, the EPA has undertaken various actions to explain the next steps in GHG permitting and also conduct rulemaking action to make the appropriate revisions to the PSD and operating permit rules. These actions include:

Implementation Guidance and Tools

Please note that most of these implementation guidance and tools were developed and issued before the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014) (“UARG”) and the D.C. Circuit amended judgment in Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. EPA, Nos. 09-1322, 10-073, 10-1092 and 10-1167 (D.C. Cir. April 10, 2015) mentioned above. Therefore, they might be outdated. Please refer to the applicable PSD and title V permitting rules and regulations for the latest requirements on GHG permitting for both of these permitting programs.

  • PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases (PDF) (96 pp, 11.2 MB, About PDF) - March 2011 update (reformatted) - This document provides the basic information that permit writers and applicants need to address GHG emissions in permits. The document posted above incorporates updates to the guidance originally posted in November 2010. We provided an opportunity for comment, inviting comment on all aspects of the guidance, but most immediately requesting comments on technical errors. This updated March 2011 version of the guidance reflects the technical corrections that were identified during our review of those comments. For more information on the permitting guidance for GHGs, please contact Dave Svendsgaard at 919-541-2380.  
  • Summary slides on PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for GHGs (PDF) (33 pp, 163 K, About PDF) - These slides summarize the "PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases" and are for informational purposes only. EPA presented these slides during the stakeholder webinars on November 18 and 19, 2010. For more specifics on EPA's guidance on the permitting of GHGs, please consult the actual guidance document.
  • Interim Permitting Guidance for GHG Emissions from Bioenergy Production (PDF) (35 pp, 622 K, About PDF) - This document provides guidance that permitting authorities may use when determining Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for GHG emissions at Bioenergy facilities. This guidance can be used on an interim basis as EPA completes its detailed examination of the science and technical issues associated with the accounting for biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources.
  • Resources for Estimating GHG Emissions - This page includes references that may prove useful to sources and permitting authorities in identifying, characterizing and estimating GHG emissions.
  • GHG Control Measures White Papers – This series of technical “white papers” summarize readily available information on control techniques and measures to reduce GHG emissions from specific industrial sectors. These papers provide basic technical information which may be useful in a BACT analysis, but they do not define BACT for each sector. The industrial sectors covered include:

White Papers

EPA Contact



Electric Generating Units (PDF)(48 pp, 805 K, About PDF)

Christian Fellner

(919) 541-4003

Large Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Boilers (PDF)(39 pp, 337 K, About PDF)

Jim Eddinger

(919) 541-5426

Pulp and Paper (PDF)(62 pp, 421 K, About PDF)

Bill Schrock

(919) 541-5032

Cement (PDF)(48 pp, 220 K, About PDF)

Keith Barnett

(919) 541-5605

Iron and Steel Industry (PDF)(78 pp, 620 K, About PDF)

Donna Lee Jones

(919) 541-5251

Refineries (PDF)(42 pp, 707 K, About PDF)

Brenda Shine

(919) 541-3608

Nitric Acid Plants (PDF)(31 pp, 544 K, About PDF)

Nathan Topham

(919) 541-0483

Landfills (PDF)(28 pp, 250 K, About PDF)

Hillary Ward

(919) 541-3154

General Information on GHG Control Measures

David Solomon

(919) 541-5375

  • RACT/BACT/LAER Clearinghouse (RBLC) - This website provides access to information and decisions about pollution control measures in GHG air pollution emissions permits issued by permitting agencies.  Information is accessible to all permitting agencies working on similar projects.  For questions on the RBLC, please contact Illiam Rosario at 919-541-5308.
  • Implementing GHG Permitting - Questions and Answers - This page lists responses to implementation questions EPA received on GHG permitting before the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014) (“UARG”) and the D.C. Circuit amended judgment in Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. EPA, Nos. 09-1322, 10-073, 10-1092 and 10-1167 (D.C. Cir. April 10, 2015).
  • GHG Regional Points of Contact


Primary Contact


Phone Number

Secondary Contact


Phone Number


Donald Dahl


Ida McDonnell



Frank Jon


Suilin Chan



Dave Talley


Mike Gordon



Lorinda Shepherd


Heather Ceron



Richard Angelbeck


Genevieve Damico



Melanie Magee


Jeff Robinson



Ward Burns


Mark Smith



Mike Owens


Carl Daly



Lisa Beckham


Gerardo Rios



Bryan Holtrop


Donald Dossett