NHDES Decision on Variance Petition from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics

Concord, NH (9/11/2020) – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) has denied a Variance Petition (Petition) submitted by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (SGPP), asking for an extension of the February 11, 2021 deadline for completing construction and installation of the regenerative thermal oxidizer at their Merrimack facility. The NHDES Air Resources Division Director, after considering the information submitted in the Petition, written comments, and oral testimony received at an August 5, 2020 public hearing, denied the petition based on the requirements of RSA 125-C:16, Variances. The statute states that no variance shall be granted to any person applying for a variance under the statute who is causing air pollution which creates a danger to public health, welfare or safety. The current emission of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) and precursors continue to contribute to an exceedance of ambient groundwater quality standards. Therefore, granting a variance would create a danger to public health.

As background, SGPP submitted a Petition on June 4, 2020, which requested a variance of the February 11, 2021 deadline for completing construction and installation of the PFC air emission controls, as required in RSA 125-C:10-e and the air permit TP-0256 issued by NHDES on February 11, 2020. In the variance request, SGPP cited the Town of Merrimack’s appeal of this permit and the COVID-19 pandemic as the underlying reasons for the request. Specifically, SGPP requested that the variance be granted until February 11, 2022, or one year from the date of the final, non-appealable order disposing of the Town of Merrimack’s appeal of the air permit, whichever is earlier.

The issuance of this final decision on the petition initiates a 30-day period in which any aggrieved party may file an appeal with the NH Air Resources Council (NH ARC). Information regarding appeals can be found on the NH ARC website at https://www.nhec.nh.gov/air/index.htm.

The Findings of Fact and Director’s Decision along with supporting documents related to this action are provided below:

Link to pdf of Findings of Fact and Director’s Decision – https://www4.des.state.nh.us/OneStopPub/Air/330110016520-0145TypeFindingsOfFact.pdf
Link to pdf of Cover Letter – Decision on Variance Petition – https://www4.des.state.nh.us/OneStopPub/Air/330110016520-0145TypeLetter7.pdf
Link to pdf of Variance Petition – https://www4.des.state.nh.us/OneStopPub/Air/330110016506042020TypeCR.pdf

If you have any questions regarding the final decision, please contact Catherine Beahm at Catherine.Beahm@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-6793.

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