RACT/BACT/LAER Clearinghouse (RBLC) Basic Information
This page provides an overview of the RBLC web site and includes instructions for searching the data bases. Scroll down the page or use the links to the right to learn more about the RBLC. If you want detailed instructions about searching the data bases, download our User's Manual from the RBLC Products webpage.
Under EPA's "New Source Review" (NSR) program, if a company is planning to build a new plant or modify an existing plant such that air pollution emissions will increase by a large amount, then the company must obtain an NSR permit. The NSR permit is a construction permit which requires the company to minimize air pollution emissions by changing the process to prevent air pollution and/or installing air pollution control equipment. See the New Source Review (NSR) Permitting web area for more information.
The terms "RACT," "BACT," and "LAER" are acronyms for different program requirements under the NSR program.
RACT, or Reasonably Available Control Technology, is required on existing sources in areas that are not meeting national ambient air quality standards (i.e., non-attainment areas).
BACT, or Best Available Control Technology, is required on major new or modified sources in clean areas (i.e., attainment areas).
LAER, or Lowest Achievable Emission Rate, is required on major new or modified sources in non-attainment areas.
BACT and LAER (and sometimes RACT) are determined on a case-by-case basis, usually by State or local permitting agencies. EPA established the RACT/BACT/LAER Clearinghouse, or RBLC, to provide a central data base of air pollution technology information (including past RACT, BACT, and LAER decisions contained in NSR permits) to promote the sharing of information among permitting agencies and to aid in future case-by-case determinations. However, data in the RBLC are not limited to sources subject to RACT, BACT, and LAER requirements. Noteworthy prevention and control technology decisions and information are included even if they are not related to past RACT, BACT, or LAER decisions.
Permit Data Base
The RBLC permit data base contains over 7,500 determinations that can help you identify appropriate technologies to mitigate most air pollutant emission streams. The RBLC permit data base was designed to help permit applicants and reviewers make pollution prevention and control technology decisions for stationary air pollution sources, and includes data submitted by several U.S. territories and all 50 States on over 200 different air pollutants and 1,000 industrial processes.
You can search the RBLC permit data base on-line. You choose what you want to see by making selections in a search routine or typing in search criteria. The result is a subset of data that you can either view, print, or downloaded to your PC.
The RBLC permit data base groups the data into three levels:
- Facility data,
- Process data, and
- Pollutant data.
The data are organized so that each facility determination may have multiple processes and each process may emit multiple pollutants. Each facility has at least one process and at least one pollutant. Together these data make up the RBLC permit data base.
The RBLC gives you several options for searching the permit data base on-line to locate the determinations you are most interested in:
- Basic Search
- Find the Lowest Emission Rate Search
- Standard Search
- Advanced Search
- Search by RBLC Identifier
- Greenhouse Gas Search
Whichever option is used, the RBLC saves the results of your search in a data set that you can view on-line. You can select successively more detailed information by examining the processes and pollutants that comprise the determination for any facility found by your search. You can also choose a report format and save your results in a file to download to your PC.
The Basic Search is the easiest search routine for the new user of RBLC. There are a limited number of search criteria, most of which have drop-down lists to choose from.
The Find the Lowest Emission Rate Search provides a rank order listing (most stringent to least stringent emission rate) for the process and pollutant you select. The search is currently limited to combustion sources but will be expanded in the future.
The Standard Search option offers more flexibility. It allows you to build a search by selecting from groups of facility, process, and pollutant attributes. Choose one or more search criteria as needed to find the information you want. Where possible, pick-lists with the set of allowable values are provided. You can even specify a comparison operator for many data fields. The standard search provides flexibility for designing a customized search along with on-line help to ensure that the search will be successful in finding the desired data.
The Advanced Search option is the fastest way to build and run a customized search. It allows you to fill in a series of input boxes in order to build your search criteria. The search criteria consist of one to three separate search criteria joined by a connector -- 'and' or 'or'. For each of these criteria, you can choose from any of 21 searchable fields, use one of the allowable comparison operators, and specify the value you want to match or compare. The advanced search allows more sophisticated RBLC users to design a search that locates a targeted set of matching determinations.
The Search by RBLC Identifier allows you to type in from one to three RBLC identifiers (RBLC ID). The RBLC ID is a number assigned by the RBLC during data entry. Each permit action is assigned a unique RBLC ID. Each ID starts with the two-letter State abbreviation followed by a four-digit number. If you are looking for a specific facility and you know its RBLC ID, this is the fastest way to get to it.
The Greenhouse Gas Search allows you to find information on a specific greenhouse gas or on greenhouse gasses as a group. Other search parameters are the name of the process, the RBLC Process Type code, and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code.
Output Report Formats
You obtain reports from the RBLC permit data base by downloading selected data to your PC. You must perform a search and create a valid data set at least once in order to download. All of the RBLC search options allow you to select the format of the downloaded data. Choose from summary and detail listings or a comma-delimited format that can be imported into spreadsheets or desktop data bases. After you select the format, RBLC processes the data set to extract the information needed for the output format and writes the data to a file. When processing is complete, your file is available to your web browser. Depending on how you have configured your browser, the file will be immediately available for saving on your local PC or will first be displayed in the browser. Either way, use your browser to download the file. Choose as many download formats as you like for the same data set before beginning another search or exiting the RBLC Web.
RBLC gives designated users from State and local agencies the opportunity to input their agency's determinations directly. Other users who are aware of a source or who have a unique process should contact their State or local air quality authority with the pertinent information. Authorized users can select from electronic or paper submittals:
RBLC Standalone Editor for new determinations (See Note Below)
RBLC Web editor for new or updated determinations
Note: Unfortunately, the RBLC Standalone Editor (SAE) is no longer available and the RBLC no longer accepts determinations/permits submitted via the SAE. The program has not been updated for several years and needs a complete rewrite. Budget constraints meant that funding for the rewrite is not available.
Agency users with update responsibility who wish to add or change determinations using the RBLC Web must obtain update authority and use an RBLC password in order to take advantage of this feature. To receive an RBLC password, call EPA at (919) 541-0800. To input new determinations or update determinations already entered for their agency, authorized users must go to the Data Entry area of the RBLC Web. Then the user must enter the correct password and select the option to add or edit RBLC determination(s). RBLC displays a warning message and denies access if you try to update a determination not authorized for your agency.
A blank input form that you may print and use for paper submittals is available from the RBLC Products area. Completed input forms should be mailed directly to EPA at:
RTP, NC 27711
RBLC Products, Links, Technical Resources
In addition to the Permit data base, the RBLC contains links to Products (software and documents), State/local agency contacts, and other Technical Resources. RBLC Documents include the User's Manual, Data Entry form, and annual reports of RBLC activity. State and local Agency Links provides links to State and local air permitting agencies. The Related Links area contains links to other clearinghouses and Web Sites where air pollution technology information may be found. The Technical Resources area has links to software tools that can be used to estimate emissions, evaluate alternative control and prevention technologies, or identify less polluting materials. For more information see the RBLC Products webpage.
When you have a question about the RBLC, browse through the list of downloadable files in the RBLC Products area. The information you need may be available on-line. You may be able to display several types of files in your browser. The most common types of these files are indicated by a TXT or PDF icon. Follow your browser's procedures for viewing a file. You must download and unarchive files with a ZIP extension. To download a file from the RBLC Web, follow the file transfer procedures for your browser.