NC DEQ Sets Hearings on Log Fumigation Rule

The division has proposed regulating methyl bromide by establishing an Acceptable Ambient Level because the lack of specific federal or state regulatory measures for the use of methyl bromide, a hazardous air pollutant, creates a potential public health risk.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's Division of Air Quality is seeking public comments on proposed air quality rule changes to regulate emissions of methyl bromide at log fumigation operations, and the division will host two public hearings on the proposed rules. The first hearing will take place July 22 in Raleigh and the second in Wilmington on July 23.

The division has proposed regulating methyl bromide by establishing an Acceptable Ambient Level (AAL) because the lack of specific federal or state regulatory measures for the use of methyl bromide, a hazardous air pollutant, creates a potential public health risk. Neurological and respiratory effects are of greatest concern from exposure to methyl bromide, which is an odorless, colorless gas. A recent increase in businesses interested in using methyl bromide for log fumigation in North Carolina prompted DAQ to take this action.

The proposed rule would set emission control requirements for hazardous air pollutants and toxic air pollutants from log fumigation operations. A proposed amendment adds methyl bromide to the toxic air pollutant list with an AAL value of 0.005mg/m3 (milligrams per cubic meter), with a 24-hour averaging time. The Environmental Management Commission is also requesting public comment on a range for the AAL from 0.005 mg/m3 to 0.078 mg/m3.

The Raleigh hearing will start at 6 p.m. at the department's Green Square Training Room 1210, which is located at 217 West Jones St. Also starting at 6 p.m., the Wilmington hearing will take place at Cape Fear Community College.

The public comment period will be open until Aug. 16. Comments may be submitted by email to daq.publiccomments@ncdenr.gov with the subject line "Log Fumigation," and written comments can also be mailed to: Patrick Knowlson, Division of Air Quality, 1641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1641.

The proposed rule, amendment, and fiscal note are available here.

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