Friday, March 14, 2008

The Next Stage to DC

Susan Gordon, The News Tribune's environmental writer reports that the Washington State Department of Ecology has made its determination of the non-attainment boundaries within the metro area. Now named the Watapo Hills-Puyallup River Valley Nonattainment Area, a few minor revisions were made that differed from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's recommendations.

The Chamber observes that:
  • The Chamber is pleased that DOE accepted PSCAA's determination that the military installations should not be in the nonattaiment area. PSCAA determined the installations had low density, few sources and aggressive environmental programs.

  • The exclusion of Point Definace Park and the northeast Tacoma residential area do not bring any value to the issue. Probable programs to address the cause of the non-attainment would not address northeast Tacoma, and the area is not suspected of being a contributor to the problem.

  • The Chamber is disappointed that the port-industrial area is retained within the non-attainment area. The port-industrial area continues to be below the allowable limits for particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5). What goal must be achieved for the port-industrial area to comply with the standard and remove itself from the designated area?
EPA's federal standard for daily fine particulate matter (PM2.5) requires a 3-year average of 98th percentiles (called 'design values') to be compared to the daily standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3). The most recent 3-year time period available is 2005, 2006, and 2007.

PM2.5 98th percentiles at Alexander Avenue are:

2005 30.0 ug/m3

2006 36.5 ug/m3

2007 33.9 ug/m3

This calculated to a 2005-2007 design value of 33.5 ug/m3 - which according to EPA rounding conventions gets rounded up to 34 ug/m3. The next stage for the decision of what will be declared as a non-attainment area will be by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in Washington, D.C.

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