NYS Comptroller’s Office – “Weaknesses” and “Gaps” in Air Quality Monitoring and Permitting

Yesterday the NYS Office of the Comptroller released an audit of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Air Quality Monitoring and Permitting program.

The findings align with research we’ve done internally for our campaigns – many industrial operations have expired permits, sometimes years out of date, or are operating on permits issued to previous operations, or do not even have a permit at all!

Read the press release here, or click here to read the full audit.

“While the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) extensions allow Title V and Air State Facilities (ASF) to operate beyond their permit expiration date, and the Department monitors facilities under the original permit conditions, the longer the permits remain extended, the greater the risk that facilities are not operating under requirements that align with the most up-to-date air pollution control standards. For example, one permit for a Title V facility would have expired in September 2021; however, the facility submitted its renewal application timely in March 2021 and therefore qualified for SAPA extension. The facility, since the initial permit was issued, had shifted its operations to cryptocurrency mining, with projected emissions equating to more than six times its previous emissions over a 4-year period. The Department ultimately denied the renewal as the facility’s increase in greenhouse gas emissions did not align with the newly issued Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The facility has challenged the Department’s decision and continues to operate under its previous permit in accordance with SAPA.”

The audit further reviews the implications that delayed permit renewals have had on Environmental Justice goals and makes recommendations to address concerns raised. We are still reviewing this report and update as we learn more.

If you are interested in the air permit for any facilities near you, check out the DEC InfoLocator – https://gisservices.dec.ny.gov/gis/dil/
Zoom into the area of the facility you are interested in, and in the panel on the left under “Permits and Registrations”, click the boxes to activate the Air Facility Registrations, Title V Air Facilities, and Air State Facilities layers, then on the map click on the facility you are interested in. A box will pop up with information including the most recent reported emissions. Scroll down in this box to the section that says “Permit” and click the link next to that – a PDF will pop up of the current permit.

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