Thursday, October 25, 2007

Implementation of New Federal Clean Air Act Standards

Today, the Chamber's Board of Directors adopted policy guidance for Chamber advocacy in implementation planning for the new federal Clean Air Act standards.

POLICY: In defining non-attainment areas, the Chamber supports:

  • areas not contributing pollutant by type or timing not to be included
  • areas not out-of-attainment not to be included based on trend projections
  • decisions based on scientific data (human health-based and/or environmentally-based criteria ((science-based guidelines)) for setting permissible levels) rather than popular expressions

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is in the process of developing an implementation plan for the new federal standards for clean air, considering such factors as ozone and particulate matter (PM2.5) (2.5 microns or smaller).

The federal Clean Air Act requires “transportation conformity,” federally supported transportation plans, transportation improvements and projects conform to the Clean Air Act. Current data locally indicates that new emphasis will not be on stationary sources (plants), but on transportation conformity (trucks, locomotives, ships) for diesel engines.

Also, the area exceeds the new federal limit on PM2.5, in an area centered on South 78th & L Streets. This pollutant is determined by its characteristics and timing to come from wood smoke (residential).

This seemingly obscure decision to designate the boundaries of a non-attainment area, separated by a few years from potential effects, carries real consequences. A non-attainment designation can adversely affect economic development, transportation infrastructure development and growth in military installations as both the BRAC evaluations and environmental assessments evaluate air quality.


  • October 26, 2007 PSCAA completes initial analyses for designation and informal consultation with Tacoma/Pierce County stakeholders
  • November-December
    WADOE holds public comment sessions
    Draft recommendations to Governor
  • December 1
    Legislative Workgroup to recommend wood smoke reduction plan
  • December 18, 2007
    Governor submits designation areas to EPA
    Based on monitoring data from 2004 - 2006
  • December 18, 2008
    Could consider data from 2005 – 2007
  • States have 3 years after designation to develop a plan and two or more years longer to meet the standards

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