Tuesday, April 10, 2018

EPA Threatens PA With Sanctions For Failing To Submit A Plan On Time To Reduce Particulate Pollution In Allegheny, Delaware, Lebanon Counties

On April 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a finding in the Federal Register that Pennsylvania has failed to submit a complete State Air Quality Implementation Plan for fine particulates under the federal Clean Air Act for Allegheny County, Lebanon County, and Delaware counties.
These counties are designated as being in nonattainment with the air quality standard for fine particulates.  
States are required to prepare state implementation plans to meet air quality standards, and revise them when EPA lowers the standards.  The deadline for submissions for these counties was October 15, 2016.
EPA published the notice in response to litigation initiated by Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, and Clean Air Council in December 2017.
“While this is a long time coming, the Council thanks EPA for taking a step toward properly administering the requirements of the Clean Air Act,” said Christopher Ahlers, a Staff Attorney with the Council.  “Fine particulates are harmful air pollutants produced by all types of combustion. They cause cardiovascular problems and premature mortality. Although EPA lowered the standard for fine particulates in 2012, the plan for Allegheny County lacks the required emissions inventory, control strategy, attainment demonstration, reasonable further progress, quantitative milestones, contingency measures, and nonattainment new source review elements.  EPA’s finding places pressure on the Allegheny County Health Department to gather the basic information to prepare a plan to address the problem of fine particulates in Pittsburgh and neighboring communities, for the improvement of air quality for everyone.”
The Department of Environmental Protection has 18 months from the date of this notice to submit a State Air Quality Implementation Plan revision to cover these requirements, sanctions could be imposed by EPA.
Click Here for a copy of the Federal Register notice.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Clean Air Council website.
Status information on State Air Quality Implementation Plan revisions is available on DEP’s State Implementation Plan webpage.

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