July 15, 2021

Permit Appeals and EAB Independence Reinstated

In August 2020, EPA promulgated a rule meant to streamline permit appeals and alter the way the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) functions. A review of this rule is found in a previous article. On June 11, 2021, the agency finalized a rule reversing the majority of these changes and reaffirming the EAB as an impartial body independent of all EPA departments except the Office of the Administrator. [86 FR 31172] This rule was effective upon publication in the Federal Register on June 11, 2021.

Under the new administration, EPA determined the 2020 rule adversely affected the appeals process related to permits issued under the following:

The only provisions of the 2020 rule that were not reversed are the permit appeal procedures of §124.19, applicable to permits issued to tribes in Indian Country under 40 CFR Part 49 (for NNSR and minor permits) and to Title V permits issued under 40 CFR Part 71. EPA found applying the same appeal procedures to these types of permits makes the appeals process more consistent, efficient, and transparent. All other aspects of the 2020 rule have been rescinded, including:


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal environmental regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the environmental regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.