Friday, April 26, 2024

DEP Invites Comments On A Proposed Declaration Of An Exceptional Air Pollution Event Due To 2023 Wildfire Smoke Impacts

The Department of Environmental Protection published
notice in the April 27 PA Bulletin inviting public comments on a proposed declaration of an Exceptional Air Quality Event due to 2023 wildfires from Canada and New Jersey causing elevated levels of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds impacting ozone pollution in Pennsylvania.

A successful Exceptional Event declaration approved by EPA will mean DEP can essentially exclude the bad air days caused by wildfires from their analysis of whether Pennsylvania meets or exceeds air quality health standards.

EPA has specific guidance on declaration of Exceptional Events for events caused by natural or uncontrollable events, like wildfires and the handling of air quality data from those events.

The last Exceptional Air Quality Event DEP documented was in November 2017 related to elevated ozone pollution concentrations originating from the upper Midwest in May 2016 that impacted ozone pollution readings in Pennsylvania.

Click Here for a copy of DEP's Exceptional Event analysis and supporting documents.

The deadline for comments is May 28.  Questions should be directed to: Sean Nolan at (717) 772-3377 or

For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Report Emergencies, Submit Environmental Complaints; Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter; sign up for DEP’s eNotice; visit DEP’s BlogLike DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.

Resource Links:

-- Beaver County Times: Canadian Wildfires Have Started, Will Smoke Descent On US Like Last Year?

-- The Guardian: A Little-Known Pollution Rule Keeps The Air Dirty For Millions Of Americans

-- TribLive Guest Essay: Wildfire Smoke Is Coming For US Again, We’re Not Ready - By Mark Gongloff, Bloomberg

-- DEP: Large Wildfire In Nova Scotia Contributed To Air Quality Action Day Wednesday, May 31 In Lehigh Valley, Southeast PA, Susquehanna Valley [PaEN]

-- Wilkes-Barre Times Editorial: Wildfire Smoke A Reminder Of Our Shared Vulnerability  [PaEN]

-- Tribune-Review Column: Where There's Smoke, There's Wildfires And Serious Questions To Answer [PaEN]


-- Beaver County Times: American Lung Assn. State Of The Air Report Indicates Air Quality Is Lightly Improving In Pittsburgh Region

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: American Lung Assn. Improves Western PA Region’s Air Ratings, But Says More Needs To Be Done

-- PennLive: American Lung Assn. Report  Harrisburg Area’s Air Quality Is Among Worst On East Coast

-- TribLive: American Lung Assn. Ranks Pittsburgh Area Among Nation’s Most Polluted

-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: Harrisburg, Lancaster Get F Grades For Air Pollution In American Lung Assn. Report 

-- Pittsburgh Works Industry Group: Upcoming American Lung Assn. Air Quality Report Long On Hot Air, Short On Cold Facts

-- Marcellus Shale Coalition Official: ‘Despite their seemingly unbiased, innocent name, the ALA [American Lung Assn.] has been skewering data for years to advance a radical agenda under the guise of just caring about the kids.'

-- American Lung Assn. 2024 State Of Air Report Reveals Most Hazardous Air Quality Days In 25 Years

-- PennLive: PA’s Summer 2024 Forecast Is Sultry And Soggy

[Posted: April 26, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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