Friday, March 30, 2007

Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule

Mar 29 U.S. EPA finalized the 485-page rule outlining requirements for state plans to clean the air in 39 areas of the country where fine particle (PM2.5) pollution levels do not meet national air quality standards. EPA said these state plans will lead to improved air quality for millions of Americans. Under the Clean Air Act, states must develop plans by April 2008 for meeting the 1997 air quality PM2.5 standards. The Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule includes detailed guidance that interprets the Clean Air Act's requirements for the State Implementation Plans (SIP).

EPA indicated that the Bush Administration's clean air strategy includes the introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and clean diesel trucks and buses, the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule to reduce pollution from nonroad diesel engines and the Clean Air Interstate Rule to reduce pollution from power plants in the eastern United States.

According to the prepublication copy of the final rule, this final action provides rules and guidance on the Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements for State and Tribal plans to implement the 1997 fine particle (PM2.5) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). Fine particles and precursor pollutants are emitted by a wide range of sources, including power plants, cars, trucks, industrial sources, and other burning or combustion-related activities. Health effects that have been associated with exposure to PM2.5 include premature death, aggravation of heart and lung disease, and asthma attacks. Those particularly sensitive to PM2.5 exposure include older adults, people with heart and lung disease, and children.

Air quality designations became effective on April 5, 2005 for 39 areas (with a total population of 90 million) that were not attaining the 1997 PM2.5 standards. By April 5, 2008, each State having a nonattainment area must submit to EPA an attainment demonstration and adopted regulations ensuring that the area will attain the standards as expeditiously as practicable, but no later than 2015. This rule and preamble describe the requirements that States and Tribes must meet in their implementation plans for attainment of the 1997 fine particle NAAQS. (EPA notes that this rule does not include final PM2.5 requirements for the new source review (NSR) program; the final NSR rule will be issued at a later date.) The rules will become effective 60 days following official publication in the Federal Register.

Access a very brief announcement from EPA (
click here). Access a prepublication copy of the rule (click here). Access a fact sheet on the final rule (click here). [*Air]