VTCA Aggregate Producer Members account for 91% of all metal/nonmetal mineral production in the Commonwealth. Amendments to the General Permit for Nonmetallic Mineral Mining [9 VAC 5-510] (NMPGP) will have a widespread impact on Virginia’s aggregate producers.
In general, the Aggregate Producer members of the VTCA, support the NMPGP in its current form. However, Aggregate Producers do have concern with the definition of Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Facility and DEQ’s interpretation of what determines what facilities qualify and do not qualify to operate under the General Permit.
DEQ has recently made the determination that in order to now qualify to operate under the NMMPGP, facilities must include crushing and grinding in their processing. This interpretation excludes aggregate operations such as distribution yards and some sand and gravel producers (where crushing is not required for finished product) from being eligible to operate under the NMMPGP.
Aggregate operations that do not employ crushers or grinders are generally smaller operations with less equipment and therefore, less potential emissions. Aggregate operations without crushers or grinders similarly include the same equipment (screens, conveyors, and bins) as operations that utilize crushers or grinders.
VTCA members, especially those who participated in the regulatory process in 2002 when the NMPGP was created, continue to disagree with DEQ’s current interpretation of the definition of mine processing facilities that excludes facilities without a crusher or grinder. It was not DEQ’s intent in 2002 to exclude facilities that processes aggregate materials without a crusher or grinder, nor should it be today. Requiring these smaller operations to now obtain an Article 6 permit is unnecessary and presents an undue burden on the business community as well and the Department of Environmental Quality for no environmental benefit.
Since the inception of the NMMPGP in 2002, DEQ has permitted several mineral processing operations that do not have crushers or grinders to operate under the NMMPGP. This indicates that DEQ previously interpreted that nonmetallic mineral processing facilities that do not employ crushers or grinders do in fact qualify to operate under the NMMPGP. Additionally, DEQ’s history of approval of facilities without crushers and grinders to operate under the NMMPGP has established an industry precedent.
VTCA Aggregate Producers propose that the Nonmetallic Mineral Processing General Permit [9 VAC 5-510] be retained in its current form; however, if the Air Pollution Control Board does open this permit for review, the VTCA Aggregate Producers would like to be included on any advisory committee that may be established.
Additionally, if the Air Pollution Control Board elects to retain the NMMPGP as is, VTCA Aggregate Members strongly desire to continue discussions with DEQ and the Air Pollution Control Board to clarify that operations that don’t employ crushers or grinders can qualify to operate under the current NMGPG.