Final Determination issued for Pacific Northwest Renewable Energy Permit Application

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) issued a Final Determination regarding the permit application for the proposed wood pellet manufacturing facility in Hoquiam, Washington.

After issuing a Preliminary Determination on a permit application from Pacific Northwest Renewable Energy (PNWRE), ORCAA opened a 40-day public comment period and hosted a Public Hearing in Hoquiam. After the close of those events, ORCAA’s engineering staff reviewed and responded to all public comments. The detailed responses and all comments received by ORCAA can be found at the links below (note: due to the number and size of the individual files, the records are organized into folders which have been compressed for accessibility).

As the delegated authority implementing the New Source Review (NSR) program for its jurisdiction, ORCAA considers five criteria when making the decision to approve or deny a Notice of Construction (NOC) application for a proposed stationary source of air pollution:

  1. Will the proposed source comply with all federal, state, and local standards?
  2. Will the proposed source use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for all pollutants whose emissions would increase?
  3. Will any increase in emissions result in an exceedance of any federal or state air quality standard?
  4. If a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit is required, did the applicant obtain one from the delegated PSD authority–in this case, Ecology?
  5. Did the applicant meet all the requirements of Washington’s Air Toxics Rule (WAC 173-460)?

ORCAA’s Final Determination concluded the proposed facility meets all five criteria for approval in Washington and, therefore, may be conditionally approved. The Final Determination differs from the Preliminary Determination in some important ways, demonstrating the importance of a robust public process. Based on questions and comments from the public, PNWRE addressed additional emissions from the wet (green) hammer mills and proposed to route the units to a regenerative catalytic oxidizer (RCO), and ORCAA added stack testing requirements for specific hazardous air pollutants. ORCAA appreciates the community interest in this project. 

It should be noted ORCAA may only address issues specifically related to air emissions, and many of the comments reviewed by the agency focused on other topics. Water and soil issues, wildlife impacts, and other non-air related concerns were addressed by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination prepared by the SEPA-lead agency, the City of Hoquiam.

ORCAA’s action may be appealed to the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB). Appeals must be filed within thirty (30) days of receipt of this notice. The appeal must be sent to the PCHB and a copy served to ORCAA in accordance with Chapter 371-08 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). Filing of an appeal does not stay (stop) the effectiveness of the Approval Order.

Linked Files

Previous posts:

See Notice of Initial Application here:

See Notice of Public Comment Period and Public Hearing here:

See News Post here:


Media Contact

Dan Nelson

Communications/Outreach Manager