Yesterday, December 14, 2016, the EPA issued final revisions to the Regional Haze Rule largely adopting the revisions it had proposed in the spring. The Regional Haze Rule requires states to periodically submit plans to protect visibility in national parks and wilderness areas by curbing haze-producing air emissions from anthropogenic sources, such as power plants. The revisions address the second planning period which runs until 2028. (The first planning period ran from 2008-2018.)
Among the changes adopted, EPA:
- Extends the due date for the next periodic comprehensive State implementation plan (SIP) revisions from July 31, 2018, to July 31, 2021 to allow states and tribes to consider and integrate compliance planning for other air emission regulatory programs (e.g. MATS, Clean Power Plan, etc.);
- Revises the second planning period interim report due dates;
- Removes the requirement that progress reports take the form of SIP revisions thereby also eliminating EPA’s formal approval or disapproval of such reports;
- Modifies the set of days used to track progress towards natural visibility conditions to control for non-anthropogenic causes of haze has such as wildfires and dust storms;
- Allows states to propose and the Administrator to authorize an adjustment to a state’s uniform rate of progress (URP) to address impacts on visibility from anthropogenic sources outside the U.S.; and
- Requires that states respond to a Federal Land Manager (FLM)’s certification of reasonably attributable visibility impairment certification within three years and that FLMs consult with states prior to making such a certification.
A fact sheet on the rule can be found here.
On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, EPA will be holding an informational webinar from 12:30-2:00 PM Eastern to discuss the final revisions.