December 10, 2021
Michelle Owenby Director
Division of Air Pollution Control
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 15th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Comments submitted via email to: Air.Pollution.Control@tn.gov
Re: Conservation Organizations Comments on the Pre-Hearing Draft Tennessee Regional Haze State Implementation Plan
Dear Ms. Owensby,
The National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning and Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (“Conservation Organizations”) submit the following and attached comments regarding the Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation Division of Air Pollution Control’s (“TDEC”) Pre-Hearing Draft Tennessee Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (“Draft SIP”) dated October 21, 2021. The Conservation Organizations appreciate the seven working day extension TDEC provided to submit comments on the Draft SIP.
National Parks Conservation Association (“NPCA”) is a national organization whose mission is to protect and enhance America’s National Parks for present and future generations. NPCA performs its work through advocacy and education. NPCA has over 1.64 million members and supporters nationwide, with more than 6,566 in the State of Tennessee, with its main office in Washington, D.C. and 24 regional and field offices. NPCA is active nation-wide in advocating for strong air quality requirements to protect our parks, including submission of petitions and comments relating to visibility issues, regional haze State Implementation Plans, climate change and mercury impacts on parks, and emissions from individual power plants and other sources of pollution affecting National Parks and communities. NPCA’s members live near, work at, and recreate in all the national parks, including those directly affected by emissions from Tennessee’s sources.
Sierra Club is a national nonprofit organization with 67 chapters and more than 830,000 members dedicated to exploring, enjoying, and protecting the wild places of the earth; to practicing and promoting the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educating and enlisting humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to using all lawful means to carry out these objectives. The Sierra Club has long participated in Regional Haze rulemaking and litigation across the country in order to advocate for public health and our nation’s national parks.
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (Coalition) is a non-profit organization composed of over 2,000 retired, former and current employees of the National Park Service (NPS). The Coalition studies, speaks, and acts for the preservation of America’s National Park System. As a group, we collectively represent over 40,000 years of experience managing and protecting America’s most precious and important natural, cultural, and historic resources.
As discussed in these comments, we have serious concerns regarding TDEC’s Draft Regional Haze SIP for the Second Implementation Period. As detailed below, TDEC’s Draft SIP will not result in reasonable progress towards improving visibility at the Class I areas its sources impact, including those located in Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Joyce Kilmer- Slickrock Wilderness Areas as well as Class I areas in neighboring states.
Despite the thousands of tons of controllable pollution from Tennessee sources including coal-fired powered plants, chemical facilities, cement kilns, among others, and the many opportunities for cost-effective controls, Tennessee improperly concludes that almost no new reductions in pollution are warranted. Indeed, while we support TDEC’s evaluation of the two sources via the Four-Factor Analysis ‒ Eastman Chemical Company and TVA Cumberland Fossil Plant ‒ neither source was required to implement any additional controls or measures,1“Tennessee Regional Haze State Implementation Plan,” Pre-Hearing Draft (Oct. 21, 2021), (“Draft SIP”) Draft SIP Executive Summary at 5, https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/environment/air/documents/publicnotices/APC_TN_SIP_Regional_Haze_Pre- Hearing_10212021.pdf. despite reasonable progress control options. Moreover, TDEC must also do Four-Factor Analyses for additional sources and to ensure pollution controls are required to cut emissions from the polluting sources.
According to NPCA’s analysis of polluting sources in Tennessee, 65% of visibility impairing pollution comes from chemical plants, coal-fired power plants, and cement facilities,2NPCA Regional Haze Fact Sheet: Tennessee, https://drive.google.com/file/d/19YJcKzxPOUj9rGyxcK0wKodg- P6gvFwp/view (Exhibit 1) (“NPCA’s Regional Haze Fact Sheet for Tennessee”). including the following ten sources omitted from a Four-Factor Analysis by TDEC:
• TVA Kingston,
• TVA Gallatin,
• AGC Industries – Greenland Plant,
• O-N Minerals (Luttrell),
• Trelleborg Coated Systems U.S., INC,
• Signal Mountain Cement CO.,
• Packaging Corporation of America,
• Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, Station 860, and
• Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, Station 87.
To satisfy the Clean Air Act (“Act”) and Regional Haze Rule (“RHR”) TDEC must correct the flaws identified in these comments and in the attached technical reports by Joe Kordzi3Joe Kordzi, “A Review of the Tennessee Regional Haze State Implementation Plan” (Nov. 2021). Mr. Kordzi is an independent air quality consultant and engineer with extensive experience in the regional haze program. (“Kordzi Report”) (Exhibit 2). and D. Howard Gebhart,4D. Howard Gebhart, “Technical Review of VISTAS Visibility Modeling for the Second Round of Regional Haze State Implementation Plans” (May 2021). (“Gebhart May 2021 Report”) (Exhibit 3), 5D. Howard Gebhart, “Technical Review of North Carolina Regional Haze State Implementation Plan Second Round of Regional Haze State Implementation Plans Supplemental Report” (Oct. 2021) (“Gebhart October 2021 Report”) (Exhibit 4). Mr. Gebhart is an air quality meteorologist with 40 years of experience in air quality permitting, specializing in air dispersion modeling; and his CV is attached to his report. including:
● Conducting a Four-Factor Analysis and requiring adequate pollution controls and enforceable SIP emission limits for the ten sources the National Park Service and NPCA identified and listed above;
● Setting enforceable retirements in the SIP for any source the state is counting on for pollution reduction to help achieve reasonable progress, including the Kingston and Cumberland TVA coal plants;
● Requiring the installation of reasonable progress control options (wall rings) at TVA Cumberland for an additional 719 tons reductions of SO2 and evaluating control options for the NOx and PM emissions;
● Making the retirement of boilers 18, 19, and 20 at the Eastman Chemical Company enforceable as part of this SIP;
● Requiring Eastman Chemical Company to install SO2 pollution controls on uncontrolled boilers 21 and 22 and evaluate measures to reduce the NOx and PM emissions from all the remaining boilers; and
● Thoroughly assessing environmental justice impacts (as EPA recommended).
Moreover, these comments also explain that TDEC’s Draft SIP:
● Fails to first evaluate whether additional emission reductions from sources are necessary via the Four-Factor Analysis reasonable progress determinations to ensure reasonable progress toward the Clean Air Act’s visibility goal;
● Relies on alleged “on-the-books” emission reductions absent any enforceable requirement;
● Defers making Four-Factor Analysis determinations based on purported emission reductions from other programs;
● Relies on flawed modeling data and assumptions that are not secured via enforceable SIP requirements to predict that visibility will continue to improve in 2028; and
● Relies on flawed and incomplete consultations with the Federal Land Managers, other states and Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs).
The Clean Air Act requirements for Tennessee’s Regional Haze Plan present a significant opportunity to not only improve the skies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness Area, which are located in both Tennessee and North Carolina as well as across the region’s treasured public lands but also the air quality in communities across the state, including some of the most disproportionately affected by health harming pollution that can and must be abated. Despite the legal requirements necessary to ensure reasonable progress, TDEC’s Draft SIP contains fundamental flaws and fails to propose any new emission reductions for its sources.
Our comments present these issues and offer detailed suggestions to ensure that the SIP Tennessee submits to EPA will be in line with the legal requirements of the Clean Air Act and federal regulations, and address visibility impairing emissions.
Read this letter as a PDF here.
- 1“Tennessee Regional Haze State Implementation Plan,” Pre-Hearing Draft (Oct. 21, 2021), (“Draft SIP”) Draft SIP Executive Summary at 5, https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/environment/air/documents/publicnotices/APC_TN_SIP_Regional_Haze_Pre- Hearing_10212021.pdf.
- 2NPCA Regional Haze Fact Sheet: Tennessee, https://drive.google.com/file/d/19YJcKzxPOUj9rGyxcK0wKodg- P6gvFwp/view (Exhibit 1) (“NPCA’s Regional Haze Fact Sheet for Tennessee”).
- 3Joe Kordzi, “A Review of the Tennessee Regional Haze State Implementation Plan” (Nov. 2021). Mr. Kordzi is an independent air quality consultant and engineer with extensive experience in the regional haze program. (“Kordzi Report”) (Exhibit 2).
- 4D. Howard Gebhart, “Technical Review of VISTAS Visibility Modeling for the Second Round of Regional Haze State Implementation Plans” (May 2021). (“Gebhart May 2021 Report”) (Exhibit 3)
- 5D. Howard Gebhart, “Technical Review of North Carolina Regional Haze State Implementation Plan Second Round of Regional Haze State Implementation Plans Supplemental Report” (Oct. 2021) (“Gebhart October 2021 Report”) (Exhibit 4). Mr. Gebhart is an air quality meteorologist with 40 years of experience in air quality permitting, specializing in air dispersion modeling; and his CV is attached to his report.