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By Jessica Coomes
The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule that requires five additional states to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from power plants during the summer ozone season under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
The agency took the action Dec. 15. EPA also had proposed requiring Kansas to reduce summertime nitrogen oxides emissions, but the state was excluded from the final rule because the agency said it does not have the authority to finalize a federal implementation plan for Kansas. The agency intends to address Kansas's emissions in a separate rulemaking.
The five states that are being brought into the summertime nitrogen oxides program are Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
EPA in July finalized the cross-state rule, which will require power plants in several states to reduce interstate transport of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. It is intended to help downwind areas meet national ambient air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate matter, of which nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are precursors (76 Fed. Reg. 48,208; 131 DEN A-6, 7/8/11).
Under the cross-state program, which begins Jan. 1, states are required to reduce annual nitrogen oxides emissions, annual sulfur dioxide emissions, summertime nitrogen oxides emissions, or some combination.
When EPA released the final cross-state rule, it also proposed including Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin in the summertime nitrogen oxides program (76 Fed. Reg. 40,662).
EPA said modeling it conducted in preparing the final cross-state rule shows the six states contribute to attainment problems in downwind areas.
With EPA's latest action, 28 states—not 27—now are covered by provisions of the cross-state rule.
Oklahoma previously was not covered by the cross-state rule at all, so the new action would bring that state into the program for the first time. Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin already have been included in the cross-state rule's annual nitrogen oxides program.
In the final rule, EPA increased Oklahoma's 2012 budget for summertime nitrogen oxides emissions from what the agency proposed.
EPA acknowledged in a fact sheet that Oklahoma was not included in the original final cross-state rule, and the agency “recognizes that the timing of this final action would not allow Oklahoma sources to install new combustion control equipment ahead of the 2012 ozone season.”
EPA said it does not have the authority to finalize a federal implementation plan (FIP) for Kansas.
EPA previously approved a state implementation plan (SIP) for Kansas that addresses interstate transport of ozone and fine particulate matter, and that plan did not rely on the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).
The cross-state rule replaces the Clean Air Interstate Rule, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2008 remanded to EPA.
“Kansas is unique in this regard because no other state covered by the Transport Rule or this action has an approved SIP that did not rely on the CAIR requirements,” the final rule said. “For these reasons, EPA does not have an obligation…to promulgate a FIP for Kansas at this time.”
EPA instead plans to take final action soon on a SIP Call for Kansas to address interstate transport (76 Fed. Reg. 763; 5 DEN A-13, 1/7/11).
Kansas will be subject to the annual nitrogen oxides and annual sulfur dioxide program under the cross-state rule finalized in July.
The final rule, which EPA signed Dec. 15 and will be effective 30 days after publication, is available at http://www.epa.gov/crossstaterule/pdfs/FinalSNFR.pdf .
For more information from EPA, contact Gabrielle Stevens in the agency's Clean Air Markets Division at (202) 343-9252 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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