An important permitting consideration often overlooked by energy companies is source aggregation. Under the Clean Air Act, source aggregation asks whether multiple emissions units should be considered a single “source” for air permitting purposes. Separate units in the same industrial grouping and under common control can be treated as a single source if they are located on “contiguous” or “adjacent” properties. Because many air permit requirements vary depending on a unit’s potential to emit certain pollutants, aggregating multiple emission units typically increases the total potential to emit and can result in the need for a permit that would not otherwise be required or heightened permitting requirements.
The oil and natural gas industry relies on a vast array of units and equipment to produce and transport gas, from wells to compressor facilities and plants to transmission lines. With careful planning, operators can more effectively ensure that separate units are treated separately for air permitting purposes. Attorneys at Ryan Whaley Coldiron Jantzen Peters & Webber are leaders in the field of source aggregation and can provide guidance and assistance to oil and gas operators on permitting and compliance issues related to aggregation.
The Firm has assisted clients in analyzing source aggregation issues for permit applications in many states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The Firm also represents clients in permit challenges before state agencies. The Firm also represented an industry group in filing an amicus curiae brief with the Sixth Circuit in Summit Petroleum Corp. v. EPA, 690 F.3d 733, 744 (6th Cir. 2012), where the Court issued a landmark ruling that overturned and vacated EPA’s long-standing interpretation that functional interdependence could be used in lieu of physical proximity to determine that two facilities were “adjacent” to one another.
Our lawyers are regularly called upon to speak and write about source aggregation issues for clients, consultants, and various groups, and recently published an article about aggregation decisions in the oil and natural gas industry (Anadarko Frederick Compressor Station: Source Determinations for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry, 49 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Found. J. 39 (2012)).