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Latest Update: EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Posted on 5/9/2017 by Anthony Cardno

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first promulgated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) on August 8, 2011. The intent of that rule was to address the spread of ozone and fine particulate matter across State lines. Emissions of volatile organic compounds (a precursor to ground-level ozone) and fine particulates in upwind regions can affect the ability of downwind regions to attain and maintain compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Clean Air Act §110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), often called the “good neighbor provision,” requires states to prohibit emissions that will contribute significantly to non-attainment of the NAAQS in any other state. The states have the main responsibility to address interstate air pollution with EPA support. However, the EPA is required to step in where states fail to submit “good neighbor State Implementation Plans.”

What is the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule?

coal-fired-power-plant.jpgOriginally published in July 2011, the CSAPR set requirements for 28 states in the eastern half of the US to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide that cross State lines and contribute to ozone and fine particulate pollution in other states. In particular, this program was aimed at helping downwind regions meet the 1997 ozone and fine particulate NAAQS as well as the 2006 fine particulate NAAQS.
The CSAPR was scheduled to replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule on January 1, 2012, but full implementation was delayed through a series of D.C. circuit court actions. In April 2014, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) reversed the lower court’s decision and allowed the EPA to shift the compliance deadlines forward by three years.

Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS

Promulgated on October 26, 2016, the CSAPR Update Final Rule addressed some of the Court’s concerns about the original CSAPR as well as the interstate movement of ozone pollution in relation to the 2008 ozone NAAQS.
The 2016 Update Rule puts Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) in place for the 22 states that failed to create “approvable” SIPs addressing the 2008 ozone NAAQS, according to the regulatory timeline.                           
States now covered by FIPs for 2008 ozone NAAQS: AL, AR, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI. 

The goal of the 2016 Update Rule is to limit emissions from electricity generating units (EGUs), primarily fossil fuel generators (those in North American Industrial Classification System code 221112), in the above-named states. To achieve this, the rule established tonnage-based emissions budgets and allowance trading programs on a state-by-state basis.

Cross-State Air Pollution Compliance Deadlines

The CSAPR Update Rule required implementation starting with the 2017 ozone season. Generally speaking, “ozone season” runs from March or April to October or November in most US states impacted by the CSAPR. To find out when ozone season starts near you, check out EPA’s reference table here. Power plants in the affected states are subject to State-established emissions limits under the FIPs and related State Implementation Plans (SIPs).

The Future of the CSAPR 

The original CSAPR was aimed at aiding in the states’ attainment of the 1997 and 2006 NAAQS for ozone and fine particulates, while the CSAPR Update Rule was intended to help ensure attainment of the 2008 NAAQS for ozone. The NAAQS for ozone changed again in 2015.
The EPA will need to initiate an entire new rulemaking to expand the CSAPR to include requirements for helping states attain the 2015 NAAQS for ozone.

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