Preventing Significant Deterioration Under the Clean Air Act: The BACT Determination - Part II

18 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2012 Last revised: 25 Jan 2012

John-Mark Stensvaag

University of Iowa - College of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2012


This Article is the seventh in a series on the Clean Air Act (CAA) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. The first six Articles, which appeared in the December 2005, January 2006, January 2008, January 2011, October 2011, and November 2011 issues of the Environmental Law Reporter, focused on baselines, increments and ceilings, on the permit triggers for new facilities, on area classification and redesignation, on the requirement that major emitting facilities comply with Best Available Control Technology (BACT) standards for each pollutant subject to regulation under the CAA, and on how permitting authorities must go about determining BACT on a case-by-case basis, subject to EPA review and approval. This Article is the second of two on the EPA’s preferred “top-down” procedure for making BACT determinations. Steps 2 through 5 of that procedure involve the elimination of technically infeasible options, the ranking of remaining technologies by control effectiveness, the evaluation of energy, environmental, and economic impacts, the selection of BACT technology, and the specification of BACT emission limitations. As old pollution control technologies are continually replaced by newer ones, these steps present daunting burdens for permit applicants and fertile opportunities for their opponents.

Keywords: Clean Air Act, PSD, BACT

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Stensvaag, John-Mark, Preventing Significant Deterioration Under the Clean Air Act: The BACT Determination - Part II (January 1, 2012). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2012; U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-02. Available at SSRN:

John-Mark Stensvaag (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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