New Source Review Plantwide Applicability Limit (PAL)

The actual plantwide applicability limit (PAL) is a new provision of the rules that became effective March 3, 2003. A PAL is a plantwide emission limit based on plantwide actual emissions.

If facility emissions are kept below a plantwide actual emissions cap (that is, an actual PAL), then these regulations allow the facility to avoid the major New Source Review (NSR) permitting process when making changes to the facility or individual emissions units. Changes under the PAL are not exempt from state permitting requirements.

In return for this flexibility, emissions must be monitored at all emissions units under the PAL. The benefit is that the facility may be altered without first obtaining a Federal NSR permit or going through a netting review; a PAL will allow quick changes at the facility. But a PAL requires recordkeeping, monitoring, and reporting, and state permitting rules still apply.

For more detailed information, see the PDF icon NSR PAL fact sheet. For air modeling guidance, refer to the MPCA PDF icon NSR Reform Modeling Policies and Procedures.

Plantwide Applicability Limit (PAL) - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Must a PAL be Facility-wide?

    A: Yes. All equipment emitting the specific pollutant must be included. Insignificant Activities listed in Minn. R. 7007.1300, subps. 3 and 4 must be included in the PAL.
  • Q: When renewing a PAL, does the State have discretion in determining if the PAL should be reduced?

    A: Yes. The criteria that must be considered when adjusting the PAL are listed in the rules at 40 CFR Section 52.21(aa)(10)(iv) and (v). In any case, in the documentation, the State must explain its reasoning for setting the new PAL.
  • Q: If I apply for PAL for PM10, will I be required to complete an Ambient Air Impacts Analysis (AAIA)?

    A: The regulation does not directly require an AAIA, but it does state that no PAL can cause or contribute to the violation of an ambient standard (including increment and air quality-related values). The preamble discussion explains that EPA assumed that all state minor NSR programs require some level of ambient analyses for minor NSR permits. The MPCA is currently developing a policy on the level of AAIA that will be required for PAL permits.
  • Q: If I get a PAL, can I eliminate all my previous synthetic minor limits?

    A: Under PALs, previous synthetic minor limits (often called “(r)(4)” limits) “can” be removed, but the rule does not say “must”. States can decide to remove them or not. The preamble says “your reviewing authority should make sure that you are meeting all other regulatory requirements and that the removal of the limits does not adversely impact the NAAQS or PSD increments.” Some previous limits may need to remain in order to make the PAL enforceable (for example, requirements to operate controls at specific efficiencies).
  • Q: Is the PAL permit just a ton per year limit or does it include any sub-limits on operating parameters needed to make the ton per year limit enforceable?

    A: It includes any other limits or requirements as needed.