News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

Environmental Appeals Board Rejects Air Permit for Construction of Illinois Lime Manufacturing Plant

The Environmental Appeals Board recently issued an order in In re: Mississippi Lime, PSD Appeal No. 11-01, which concerned a Clean Air Act prevention of significant deterioration (“PSD”) permit that the Illinois EPA issued to Mississippi Lime Company for construction of a lime manufacturing plant in Prairie du Rocher, Randolph County, Illinois. Mississippi Lime proposed to construct two pre-heater rotary lime kilns designed to burn solid fuel (coal and petroleum coke). The kilns are expected to be the principal source of emissions from the Plant. These emissions include particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

In general, companies that wish to construct “major emitting facilities” in certain areas must obtain preconstruction approval in the form of PSD permits to build such facilities. As part of the permit issuance process, the PSD regulations require that new major stationary sources of air pollution, and any major modification of such sources, be carefully reviewed prior to construction to ensure that emissions from such facilities will not cause or contribute to an exceedance of air quality standards. These permits must also require compliance with emissions limits using Best Available Control Technology (“BACT”).

The Sierra Club asked that the Environmental Appeals Board review certain conditions of the Mississippi Lime PSD permit. The Board concluded that Sierra Club met its burden of establishing that Illinois EPA clearly erred in several aspects of its permit determination.

In particular, the Board held that: “(1) IEPA failed to provide sufficient justification for determining BACT for kiln startup and shutdown emissions; (2) IEPA failed to provide sufficient justification for the permit’s BACT emissions limitations” for [sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter]; (3) IEPA failed to provide sufficient justification for determining that emissions from the proposed source will not cause or contribute to a violation of the one-hour [sulfur dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standards]; and (4) IEPA failed to provide sufficient justification for not establishing [sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide] emissions limits based on one-hour averages to protect the one-hour sulfur dioxide] and the one-hour [nitrogen oxide National Ambient Air Quality Standards].”

Interestingly, the Board took Illinois EPA to task for “fundamentally misunderstand[ing] its role as permit issuer.”  Specifically, the Board found that IEPA was required “to investigate and examine recent regulatory determinations, especially if one is brought to the permit issuer’s attention.”  The Sierra Club had requested that the IEPA consider performance test data at existing kilns, but IEPA denied that request.  Now the Illinois EPA must take a second look and reanalyze the permit.

Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments.  To set up a free initial consultation to discuss your legal matter, please contact Chicago environmental attorney Dave Scriven-Young at (312) 239-9722 or

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