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EPA Grants Petition by PCS Phosphate Company

Final Amendment to the 2015 National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Phosphoric Acid will save $26 million, while preserving air protection

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Aurora, N.C. (October 29, 2020) — Today, at Nutrien Aurora Phosphate, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the finalization of an amendment to the 2015 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Phosphoric Acid Manufacturing. This amendment, which addresses a petition submitted by PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. (now a subsidiary of Nutrien Ltd.), draws on newly available data in order to make needed revisions to the 2015 NESHAP. The company’s Aurora, N.C. facility is the only source affected by this action. These changes are not expected to result in an increase in mercury or any other hazardous air pollutant. It is also expected to save approximately $26 million over the next five years and protect and preserve hundreds of direct jobs in Eastern North Carolina.

“The Trump Administration is committed to setting emissions standards that will protect public health and the environment and that are fully consistent with the Clean Air Act,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s action shows, when reliable, new information becomes available, EPA will be responsive to stakeholder concerns that our regulatory reach is exceeding our statutory responsibility.”

“This amendment to the emissions standard for hazardous air pollutants is a big win for North Carolina and will save hundreds of jobs in eastern North Carolina,” said U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. “I want to thank the administration for their continued attention to issues that face our great state and I applaud Administrator Wheeler for putting forth common sense, realistic goals that will ensure jobs stay in North Carolina, while also ensuring our environment is protected for the benefit of future generations.”

In its September 2016 petition, the company submitted data which demonstrated to EPA’s satisfaction that the 2015 rule, as originally written, resulted in the facility being in non-compliance with current controls, a result that was not intended when the 2015 NESHAP was first developed. After working with PCS Phosphate to gather additional data, we have revised the 2015 NESHAP to establish a new emissions standard that fulfills EPA’s statutory requirements under the Clean Air Act and better reflects the original intent in the 2015 rule. Without this action, additional cost-prohibitive controls, which were not anticipated for this facility during development of the 2015 Rule, would be required.


The Clean Air Act sets forth procedures EPA must follow in the development of standards for controlling the emissions of HAPs from sources in an industry group or “source category.” These standards are based on the emissions limitations that are already being achieved by the best-controlled sources in an industry. These emissions standards are designed to reflect what is commonly referred to as the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) floor. Because the Aurora facility was the only facility in the source category with the type of source affected by this amendment, data pertaining to this one facility was originally used to establish the MACT floor.

In 2015, EPA amended the Phosphoric Acid Manufacturing NESHAP and set numerical mercury limits for calciners in the source category. EPA is revising the 2015 NESHAP because we have determined, based on newly available data and after conducting a site visit, that the previous standard was not based on an accurate determination of the level of emission reductions that were achievable at the source.