California’s Air Quality Plan to be Rejected by the EPA

Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to disapprove plans developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The air quality plans aimed to bring areas with poor air quality such as the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley into attainment with national health standards for particulate emissions. The fine particulates, known as PM2.5 are notoriously bad in places like Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

EPA requires the states to submit a plan on how health-based air quality standards will be met in areas that are currently non-attainment zones. They are set to reject California’s plan because the emission reductions rules have not been submitted to EPA for review. EPA needs California to demonstrate that their new rules will achieve its air quality goals.

“California has a history of adopting aggressive rules to tackle some of the worst air quality in the nation, but we need to redouble our efforts,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “EPA will continue to work with California to strengthen measures to improve air quality for the millions of residents in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley.”

Parts of CARB’s plan will be approved by EPA. For example, there are emission reductions rules from state and local agencies that have already been approved. These pre-approved rules include emissions control from various industrial processes along the South Coast, and even rules governing residential wood-burning.

A final decision from EPA on their rejection of California’s plan is set to be made next year. If the plans are officially disapproved, and corrections are not made in a timely manner, EPA would apply certain sanctions. This may include imposing more stringent facility permitting requirements after 18 months and imposing highway funding restrictions after 24 months from the date of final disapproval.

For more information from EPA:

Article by David A. Gabel, appearing courtesy ENN.

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