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Environmental Protection Agency v. P.c.b.

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 30, 1981.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, APPELLEE,

v.

THE POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD ET AL. (UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on petition for review of an order of MR. JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

U.S. Steel Corporation (the company) applied to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (the Agency) for operating permits for four blast furnaces located at its "South Works" in Chicago. The company sought review (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1040) by the Pollution Control Board of the Agency's denial, and the Board ordered the Agency to grant the permits. The Agency appealed to the appellate court (73 Ill.2d R. 335), which reversed the Board (88 Ill. App.3d 71), and we granted the company's petition for leave to appeal.

This case involves the Board's construction of Rule 203 of its rules and regulations (Illinois Pollution Control Board Rules and Regulations, Chapter 2: Air Pollution (1970) (the Rules)), which states, in part:

"Rule 203: Particulate Emission Standards and Limitations.

(a) Particulate Emission Standards and Limitations for New Process Emission Sources.

Except as further provided in this Rule 203, no person shall cause or allow the emission of particulate matter into the atmosphere in any one hour period from any new process emission source which, either alone or in combination with the emission of particulate matter from all other similar new process emission sources at a plant or premises, exceeds the allowable emission rates specified in Table 2.1 and in Figure 2.1.

(b) Particulate Emission Standards and Limitations for Existing Process Emission Sources.

Except as further provided in this Rule 203, no person shall cause or allow the emission of particulate matter into the atmosphere in any one hour period from any existing process emission source which, either alone or in combination with the emission of particulate matter from all other similar new or existing process emission sources at a plant or premises, exceeds the allowable emission rates specified in Table 2.2 and in Figure 2.2.

(d) Exceptions to Rules 203(a), 203(b) and 203(c).

[The exceptions here specified involve a number of particularly described operations to which different standards or different sections are to be applied. Blast furnaces and casting operations are not included.]

(f) Fugitive Particulate Matter.

(1) No person shall cause or allow the emission of fugitive particulate matter from any process, including any material handling or storage activity, that is visible by an observer looking generally toward the zenith at a point beyond the property line of the emission source.

(2) No person shall cause or allow the emission of fugitive particulate matter from any process, including any material handling or storage activity, in such a manner that the presence of such particulate matter shown to be larger than forty (40) microns (mean diameter) in size exists beyond the property line of the emission source."

Rule 201 contains the following definitions:

"Fugitive Particulate Matter: Any particulate matter emitted into the atmosphere other than through a stack, provided that nothing in this definition or in Rule 203(f) shall exempt any source from compliance with other provisions of Rule 203 otherwise applicable merely because of the absence of a stack.

Process: Any stationary emission source other than a fuel combustion emission source or an incinerator.

Stationary Emission Source: An emission source which is not self-propelled."

Also relevant to our consideration is section 39 of the Environmental Protection Act (the Act), which provides:

"(a) When the Board has by regulation required a permit for the * * * operation of any type of facility * * *, the applicant shall apply to the Agency for such permit and it shall be the duty of the Agency to issue such a permit upon proof by the applicant that the facility * * * will not cause a violation of this Act or of regulations hereunder. * * * If the Agency denies any permit under this Section, the Agency shall transmit to the applicant within the time limitations of this Section specific, detailed ...


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