.03 General Conditions.

A. A person who proposes to construct or modify an emissions unit subject to this chapter may not commence construction of the emissions unit without first obtaining all permits and approvals required under this subtitle.

B. The Department shall deny a permit or approval to a person who proposes to construct a new major stationary source or major modification to a major stationary source unless the following conditions are met:

(1) The applicant certifies that all existing major stationary sources owned or operated by the applicant, or any entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the applicant, in the State are in compliance with all applicable emission limitations or are in compliance with an approved federally enforceable plan for compliance;

(2) The proposed new major stationary source or major modification will meet an emission limitation which specifies the lowest achievable emissions rate;

(3) More than equivalent emission offsets from existing sources in the area impacted by the proposed new major stationary source or major modification (whether or not under the same ownership) are required so that there will be reasonable further progress toward attainment of the applicable standard; for sources locating in the Ozone Transport Region, the offset ratios for VOC and NOx shall equal or exceed the following:

(a) 1.3 to 1 for sources of VOC or NOx in Baltimore City, or Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, or Prince George's counties; and

(b) 1.15 to 1 for sources of VOC or NOx in Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, or Worcester counties;

(4) The emission offsets will provide a positive net air quality benefit in the affected area, although for sources of VOC or NOx, atmospheric simulation modeling is not necessary for VOC and NOx and fulfillment of §B(3) of this regulation is considered adequate to meet this condition;

(5) The emission offsets for the major source or major modification shall be federally enforceable before construction is commenced;

(6) An analysis of alternative sites, sizes, production processes, and environmental control techniques for a proposed source demonstrates that benefits of the proposed source significantly outweigh the environmental and social costs imposed as a result of its location, construction, or modification; and

(7) The total tonnage of increased emissions, in tons per year, resulting from a major modification that is to be offset is the sum of the difference between the allowable emissions after the modification and the actual emissions before the modification for each emissions unit.

C. For phased construction projects, the determination of the lowest achievable emission rate shall be reviewed and modified, as appropriate, at the latest reasonable time which occurs not later than 18 months before commencement of construction of each independent phase of the project. At that time, the owner or operator of the applicable stationary source may be required to demonstrate the adequacy of any previous determination of the lowest achievable emission rate for the source.

D. Approval to construct does not relieve an owner or operator of the responsibility to comply fully with any other requirement under local, State, or federal law.

E. If an existing emissions unit at a major stationary source is modified and causes an increase in emissions that may be significant and the modification is not part of a major modification at the source:

(1) A permit is required in accordance with COMAR 26.11.02 and the Department will establish permit conditions that prevent the emissions from becoming significant; and

(2) The source is also subject to the annual reporting requirements in COMAR that require a report of emissions for each emissions unit for each year.

F. If the emissions from the modified emissions unit become significant, the provisions in this chapter apply retroactive to the date the modification occurred.