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Intel - 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 was established in 2018 to assess the potential health risks posed by emissions of toxic air contaminants from industrial and commercial facilities to nearby communities. The program requires that all facilities with air quality operating permits in the state perform a risk assessment and be regulated to health-based standards.

DEQ developed a prioritization protocol for “calling-in” the approximately 350 existing permitted facilities into the CAO program to perform their individual risk assessments. Using this protocol, DEQ established three prioritization groups for this process – groups one and two, both having 20 facilities, with the remaining facilities in group three. DEQ determined Intel would be in the second group of sources based on screening risk levels, proximity to residences, and pre-existing controls. DEQ will begin calling-in facilities from group two in April of 2024, and will continue to call-in sources every other month until completed, which will be in late 2025.

For the proposed permit modification, the CAO program rules required that Intel submit an emissions inventory for review. DEQ reviewed and approved the inventory Intel submitted as part of the permit application, noting increased emissions in toxic air contaminants. Based on the extensive controls specific to limiting emissions of the primary toxic air contaminants from the facility and the projected timeline for the proposed production increases at this facility, DEQ has confirmed the CAO call-in order based on the original prioritization. 

DEQ anticipates calling Intel into the program in April 2025, when they will perform a complete risk assessment as required under the rules of the program. At that time DEQ will evaluate in more detail emissions of all toxic air contaminants, which for Cleaner Air Oregon, includes a list of over 630 chemicals – of interest for this facility are hydrogen fluoride and other fluoride emissions, as well as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) emissions. DEQ will determine the representativeness of emission estimation methodologies and assess both annual and short-term (daily) risk from operational activities. Given the complexity of Intel’s manufacturing process and operations, DEQ anticipates that the assessment could take up to two to three years to complete. At the end of this process DEQ will determine risk and what additional permit conditions may be required to meet the program’s health-based regulatory standards.

DEQ is conducting a rulemaking to re-establish a climate mitigation program in place of the recently invalidated rules that established Oregon's Climate Protection Program. The Oregon Court of Appeals determined that DEQ did not fully comply with notice requirements during the 2021 rulemaking process for the program, thereby invalidating the rules and program. The court's ruling did not impact the Environmental Quality Commission's underlying authority to establish and enforce the Climate Protection Program. The Climate Protection Program 2024 rulemaking is scheduled to conclude by the end of 2024, with implementation expected to begin in 2025. More information is available on the rulemaking web page.

The Climate Protection Program used two approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: declining and enforceable limits, or caps, on emissions from the use of fossil fuels, and a Best Available Emissions Reduction, or BAER, approach for other site-specific emissions at facilities, such as emissions from industrial processes.  Companies regulated by the declining cap on emissions from the use and combustion of fossil fuels in Oregon included natural gas utilities and liquid fuels and propane suppliers. Intel was one of approximately 15 facilities which would have been regulated by the BAER component of the Climate Protection Program rules.

Key steps in the BAER process included DEQ notifying the facility in writing that they were being “called-in" to the program, the facility submitting a BAER assessment, DEQ's review of the facility's BAER assessment, including any requests for additional information, and a BAER order where DEQ would specify what actions, if any, the facility would have needed to take to comply with the program.

BAER was invalidated as part of the court decision mentioned above and would have to be re-established through the Climate Protection Program 2024 rulemaking.

DEQ acknowledges public concern regarding how proposed increases in pollution emitted from Intel might impact health, particularly the health of vulnerable populations such as children and older adults. 

There are two regulatory mechanisms that DEQ has for ensuring that Intel's air quality permit is protective of public health. The first regulatory requirement, and the one used for approval of this permit modification, is based on what are called “criteria pollutants," such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NO2), as examples. These pollutants are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New Source Review program. 

One component of New Source Review is a requirement that Intel performs an air quality modeling analysis that is intended to protect public health by ensuring federal air quality standards, called National Ambient Air Quality Standards, for the criteria pollutants, will not be exceeded. EPA sets these standards at levels that protect public health, including sensitive populations such as children and older adults. Part of DEQ's review of the permit application is to ensure that these standards are not exceeded when facilities increase emissions.  

EPA's process for the establishment and revision of the NAAQS is based on health science, epidemiological studies, and the deliberations of health professionals. DEQ determined the modeling analysis provided by Intel demonstrates that Intel's increased emissions will not cause or contribute to an exceedance of the federal air quality standards. 

However, the modeling shows that both NO2 and PM 2.5 emissions may result in levels that get close to the standards. As result, DEQ has added the following conditions to the permit:

  • A PM2.5 emissions testing program to take place in 2027.

  • Adding PM2.5 monitoring to the previously proposed NO2 ambient monitoring at the Ronler Acres fence line. Intel will be required to submit a monitoring plan for DEQ's review and approval. For more information about air quality monitoring, please see the “Response to Comments" document above.

​The second regulatory requirement is DEQ's Cleaner Air Oregon Program that analyzes a larger number of toxic air contaminants against health-based criteria. DEQ established this program in 2018 to assess the potential health risks posed by emissions of toxic air contaminants from industrial and commercial facilities to nearby communities. The program requires that all facilities – both existing and new – with air quality operating permits in the state perform a risk assessment and be regulated to health-based standards. 

Cleaner Air Oregon uses the latest toxicological science to set regulatory thresholds for risk on over 200 toxic air contaminants. DEQ has developed reference values for each toxic air contaminant for determining cancer and noncancer risk to all members of the public, including sensitive and vulnerable populations such as children. DEQ anticipates calling Intel into Cleaner Air Oregon in April of 2025, when Intel will perform a risk assessment as required under the rules of the program. ​

Intel made an error in reporting its greenhouse gas emissions for 2022 to DEQ's Office of Greenhouse Gas. While Intel went through a third-party verifier, that third party also missed this error. Intel reported this error to DEQ immediately upon discovery, notifying DEQ's Office of Greenhouse Gas on March 15, 2024. Intel's error missed approximately 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents basis.​

Intel must update the greenhouse gas emissions data for 2022 online to reflect the actual metric tons of CO2 equivalent it produced by May 27, 2024. 

Intel must have the corrected emissions data for 2022 re-verified by a different third party and submit a verification statement to DEQ by July 11, 2024. 

Intel has completed the online update of the information as required. You can view this information on the Office of Greenhouse Gas web page.

​The way DEQ establishes emission limits for the air quality permit is unrelated to the reporting required by the Office of Greenhouse Gas. The permit limits are based on emissions estimated for the future build-out of Intel's production facilities, using a different estimation procedure. As a result, there is no need to add to or change any language in the issued permit because of this reporting error. The issued permit includes a requirement for Intel to report greenhouse gas emissions for permit compliance purposes, again, separate from its reporting required by the Office of Greenhouse Gas. 

DEQ compared the revised amount of greenhouse gas emissions to the emission limit in Intel's current permit. The increased amount of greenhouse gas emissions is still below permitted levels, so this does not result in an air quality permit violation.

​​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.​


Nina DeConcini
Project Manager