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DNR Establishes New Registration Air Permits

October 26, 2006

On August 15, 2006 the DNR signed and issued new registration permits for air emissions. Registration permits are air pollution permits with a streamlined application process and more flexible permit terms that are available to small emitters who pledge to keep their emissions low. The DNR developed these permits in order to satisfy the requirements of the Jobs Creation Act, enacted on January 22, 2004. See Wis. Stats. s. 285.60(2g).

Potential Benefits of the New Permit
The new registrations permits might be attractive to small emitters for several reasons:

  • Lower Administrative Costs - First, this new permit gives the permittee flexibility to construct, modify or replace equipment without obtaining a construction permit. In addition, under this permit small emitters are subject to less frequent and less prescriptive monitoring requirements. These less restrictive terms, as well as alleviating the need for permit renewals or revisions, provide for lower administrative costs for the permittee.
  • Streamlined Application and Permitting Process - Perhaps most importantly, the new registration permit employs a simplified on-line permit application process and limits the DNR’s review period to no more than 15 days. The application is available at:

Restrictive Emissions Limits
In order to be eligible for the new registration permit, a facility’s actual emissions must be less than 25% of the major source thresholds. Facilities must continue to operate within these limits in order to comply with the permit terms. There are several other noteworthy requirements of the registration permit:

  • Physical Stack Requirements - The new permit also imposes requirements for stack configurations. For example, except for certain circumstances, all stacks must have vertical unobstructed exhaust points and must be at least as tall as the surrounding buildings. In addition, for facilities that emit more than five tons of particulate matter per year, emission modeling will be required to ensure compliance with the 24-hour particulate matter standard. The new registration permit also imposes minimum required control efficiencies.
  • Revocation of Prior Permits - It is important to note that prior to applying for the registration permit, a facility that already has air permits in place must request that the DNR review their existing permits to ensure that the existing permits can be revoked. If the existing permits cannot be revoked, the facility is not eligible for the registration permit. Facilities can request that the DNR review their permits for potential revocation by submitting an online form available at:

Potentially Attractive for Certain Facilities
Since eligibility for the new registration permit is based on actual emissions, the facilities who will likely benefit the most from this new program are those with high maximum theoretical emissions (MTE) or potential emissions, but whose actual emissions are low. This could include sources whose current air emissions are well controlled, or sources with low hours of actual operation.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Art Harrington (414-287-9414 or, Kevin Boyle (414-287-9428 or ), or any other member of Godfrey & Kahn’s Environmental and Land Use Team.

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