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July 1 — State agencies tasked with improving visibility at national parks and other federally protected areas got a glimpse at what their next pollution control plans need to include, courtesy of draft guidance released by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA's regional haze regulations require states to submit revised plans for meeting their visibility goals every 10 years. The draft guidance, posted online June 30, is intended to advise states in preparing the next round of haze plans.
The next deadline for states to submit haze plans for EPA approval is July 31, 2018. However, the agency in May proposed (RIN:2060-AS55) to amend its regional haze regulations to push back that deadline until July 31, 2021.
Clint Woods, executive director of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, told Bloomberg BNA in a July 1 e-mail that while he is still reviewing the 248-page document, state air agencies are interested in areas where the guidance “fills in the gaps” for proposed revisions to the regional haze regulations. Areas of interest for states include consultation requirements, the role of federal land managers in the planning process, how pollution sources from outside the U.S. should be considered and the relationship between reasonable progress goals and long-term planning strategies, Woods said.
The EPA will accept public comment on the draft guidance for 45 days once a notice announcing its availability is published in the Federal Register. That comment period will overlap with the comment period on the proposal to extend the planning deadline. The agency recently extended that deadline from July 5 to Aug. 10.
Woods said states are pleased that the agency is allowing for the concurrent review of both the guidance and proposed rule.
“We believe the result will allow for better, comprehensive feedback,” he said.
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The draft regional haze guidance is available at http://src.bna.com/gsG .
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