S.D. considers adopting EPA rules

The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment is accepting comments on a proposal to adopt federal climate rules into the state’s permitting program and to allow smaller sources of new pollution to begin construction before they obtain an air-quality permit.

The proposal has two parts:

First, it would adopt the Environmental Protection Agency’s tailoring rule, which went into effect Jan. 2 and requires greenhouse-gas permits for large, new stationary polluters. So far in South Dakota, this would apply only to the Hyperion refinery complex in Union County.

“As an approved state under something we call the state implementation plan, South Dakota is required to update their regulations shortly after EPA makes a change nationally,” said Carl Daly, who directs the air quality program for EPA Region 8.

The second part of the proposal would expedite the permitting process for smaller stationary sources of pollution by allowing them to begin construction, but not operation, before obtaining an air-quality permit.

The minerals board will have a public hearing Feb. 17 in Pierre to decide the matter. From there, the proposal will go to the Legislature’s Interim Rules Committee and then to the secretary of state, said Kyrik Rombough, air quality engineer at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Complicating the picture somewhat is the state’s participation in a lawsuit challenging the EPA rules. A clause in the proposal before the board would nullify the amended state rules if the EPA’s greenhouse-gas regulations are vacated. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said the state reserves its right to appeal the rules in court even as it is required to adopt them.

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