Air quality permit for semiconductor manufacturing
Intel Corporation operates two semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Washington County, Oregon. They are the Gordon Moore Park at Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro and the Aloha campus in Aloha. Both campuses produce semiconductor products, more commonly called computer chips. Both campuses emit pollution and are regulated by DEQ's Air Quality Program under a single air quality permit, called a Standard Air Contaminant Discharge Permit, that DEQ issued in 2016 and modified in 2022.
Sign up to receive information and updates about the proposed permitting action.
Proposed changes to operations
Intel proposes to make changes to their operations that include additional fabrication (fab) cleanroom space at the Hillsboro campus and increased emissions from the existing fab spaces at both campuses due to advances in manufacturing technology and additional manufacturing support operations. On July 7, 2023, Intel submitted a permit modification application for approval of these proposed changes - proposed increased emissions of air contaminants are shown below.
As of Sept. 7, 2023, DEQ determined Intel's application to be complete. DEQ held a virtual public information meeting on Oct. 11, 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the proposed permit, answer questions and learn what community members would like DEQ to consider during the permit drafting process.
People are welcome to send questions any time to Nina DeConcini at email@example.com.
The next step is for DEQ to draft an air quality permit that complies with all state and federal regulations and considers what was shared at the public information meeting. Once a draft permit is ready, DEQ will begin a public comment period and hold a public hearing.
Permit application review
DEQ is reviewing the permit application materials, pollution modeling and air quality analysis – these materials are below. DEQ will consider this information and the feedback at the public information meeting mentioned above when drafting the permit.
Current and proposed plant site emission limits (tons/12
* Carbon dioxide equivalents basis
** Equivalent to 1,565,428 metric tons: short tons x 0.9072 = metric tons
*** Equivalent to 742,997 metric tons: short tons x 0.9072 = metric tons
Frequently asked questions
A change to a permit can be a major modification for a number of reasons, including change in amount of emissions or how a facility is operating as described in DEQ's rules. What it means is that DEQ must do a more in-depth review and analysis including modeling emissions and how the surrounding community will be exposed and demonstrating that the changes will not cause the area to be out of compliance with federal air quality standards.
If you'd like to read more about the specific rules Intel needs to follow, here are DEQ's rules for Maintenance Area New Source Review and the Prevention of Significant Deterioration.
The Cleaner Air Oregon program does health-based risk assessments for facilities with air quality permits. When it started, Cleaner Air Oregon prioritized existing facilities, like Intel, into groups based on level of risk and all new facilities must go through a Cleaner Air Oregon assessment before they can get a permit.
Based on DEQ's initial analysis under Cleaner Air Oregon, Intel is in the second group of existing facilities that will be “called in" for Cleaner Air Oregon analysis.
Intel is using a legal mechanism called “Receipts Authority" to pay DEQ directly through a formal fee agreement to process its permit. This provides dedicated resources, mainly staff, to conduct the work – three DEQ retirees have returned to and are employed by DEQ to work on this permit and the public process. The fee agreement does not change DEQ's internal or external processes for evaluating the permit and sharing it with the public. Additionally, it allows DEQ to continue its work processing other permits.