***UPDATE (12/29/2020)*** In addition to the January 05, 2021 virtual public hearing outlined in the 12/03/2020 update below, EPA Region 6 has elected to hold an additional virtual public hearing session via teleconference on January 06, 2021. Details on how to attend the January 6, 2021 session are located here.
***UPDATE (12/03/2020)*** EPA Region 6 has elected to hold the virtual public hearing and to extend the comment period for the proposed permit actions. As a result, the public hearing will be held as planned on January 5th, 2021 and the comment period will extend to midnight on January 11th, 2021. Anyone who wishes to participate in the public hearing (listening or providing testimony) must pre-register between December 3, 2020 and December 17, 2020. Please navigate to the public hearing registration page located here.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides notice of and requests public comments on EPA’s proposed permit actions relating to Clean Air Act (CAA) applications for a 112(g) Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Determination, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) preconstruction permit, and a title V federal operating permit for the Bluewater Texas Terminals, LLC (BWTX) Deepwater Port (DWP). EPA is also providing notice of plans for holding a public hearing, if requested for the permit actions. If finalized, the proposed permits would regulate air pollutant emissions associated with the project to construct and operate a new DWP export terminal for domestically produced crude oil located in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The BWTX DWP is planned to be located approximately 15 nautical miles off the coast of San Jose Island (Aransas County, Texas) at Latitude: 27° 53’ 21.70” North, and Longitude: 96° 39’ 4.16” West. The BWTX DWP will have two Single Point Mooring (SPM) buoy systems that are remotely controlled and designed to moor Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC)-sized vessels. The BWTX DWP project will include approximately 27 miles of two new parallel 30-inch diameter crude oil pipelines, which terminate at the two offshore SPM buoy systems. Each SPM buoy system is planned to be positioned in water depths of approximately 89 feet and will consist of a Pipeline End Manifold (PLEM), Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring (CALM) buoy, and other associated equipment. The only sources of air emissions are from marine loading operations and SPM fugitive emissions at the BWTX DWP.
Based on BWTX’s proposed project design, the DWP would allow for a single VLCC or other crude oil carrier to moor at each of the two SPM buoys at the same time. Therefore, BWTX’s marine loading operations are limited to a maximum of 384,000,000 barrels per year (bbl/yr), based upon a 12-month rolling total basis and the maximum loading rate for vessels being loaded at any time is limited to 80,000 barrels per hour (bbl/hr) regardless if one or both SPM buoys are operating at the same time. The marine loading operations are limited to crude oil, and the product shall not exceed a True Vapor Pressure (TVP) of 11 psia at 100o F.
Proposed PSD Preconstruction Permit: Under the provisions of 40 CFR § 52.21, the BWTX DWP Terminal application provided the following facility-wide emission estimates that exceed the PSD review thresholds for criteria pollutants: 18,936 tons per year (tpy) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and 833 tpy Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP). Therefore, the BWTX DWP Terminal is subject to PSD requirements, whereby the PSD permit will limit emissions of each of these identified pollutants.
Proposed Title V Federal Operating Permit: In accordance with 40 CFR part 71, BWTX is a major stationary source and is subject to federal operating permit requirements. BWTX’s proposed project is a title V major stationary source with estimated emissions of 18,936.25 tpy VOC and 833.18 tpy HAP. The title V federal operating permit will authorize the operation of BWTX’s offshore DWP export terminal as representing in the supporting administrative record.
Section 112(g) of the CAA and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP): EPA is providing Notice of MACT Approval (NOMA) for BWTX’s application for a case-by-case MACT determination. BWTX’s NOMA includes requirements for the use of submerged fill loading to control HAP emissions from the proposed BWTX SPM buoy system. Facility-specific requirements in the NOMA are included as specific terms and conditions in the title V permit.
Public Hearing: You have the right to request a public hearing on the proposed permit actions. Any request for a public hearing must be received by EPA before November 27, 2020, and must state the nature of the issues proposed to be raised in the hearing for each permit action. Any request for a public hearing should be provided to EPA by posting a request on the Regulations.gov website listed above under Docket ID EPA-R06-OAR-2020-0510. Please note attendance/participation at a public hearing is not required in order to submit written comments.
If a public hearing is held, the public comment period shall automatically be extended to the close of the public hearing date. EPA retains the right to cancel the scheduled public hearing if no request for a public hearing is received by November 27, 2020, or if EPA determines that there is not a significant interest. If EPA cancels the public hearing, notification of the cancellation will be posted by November 30, 2020 on the Regulations.gov website listed above and also on EPA’s website at https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/publicnotices/notices-search/location/Texas.
|Special Circumstances Related to a Virtual Public Hearing|
Due to the declaration of a national emergency, EPA has decided to deviate from its typical processes regarding public hearings. Upon receiving recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in addition to the implementation of social distancing orders to limit the spread of COVID-19, EPA will not be providing an in-person public hearing, but instead has planned to provide a virtual public hearing if a public hearing is held. Due to the logistics involved in planning a virtual meeting, a pre-registration period will be necessary and will last from December 3, 2020 until December 17, 2020. Pre-registration will offer multiple two-hour intervals throughout the day planned for holding the virtual public hearing for those wanting to participate.
If EPA determines that there is significant public interest in either permit action, a virtual public hearing will be held on January 5, 2021, and January 6, 2021 (second day depending on the number of interested parties who pre-register). EPA will decide on interest and provide access to pre-register with detailed instructions for the virtual public hearing on our public notice website at https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/publicnotices/notices-search/location/Texas by December 3, 2020. Depending on the registrations received, EPA may consolidate the multiple two-hour time periods into fewer periods or fewer periods of slightly longer duration, in order to accommodate all those interested in participating. EPA will send verification by e-mail to all participants who register to inform them of the order of speakers registered and approximate times for speakers registered during the public hearing.
Final Determination: A final decision to issue or to deny a permit shall be made after all comments have been considered. Notice of the final decision shall be sent to each person who has submitted comments or requested notice of the final permit decision, provided the EPA has adequate contact information.