DEEP: Air Quality Planning

Air Quality Planning

{photo of Smoke Stacks}
 
 
Preventing, reducing and controlling air pollution requires a continuous, complex planning process that combines technical information and air quality policy.  Large data sets defining the level and type of emissions from categories of sources and meteorological data must be analyzed and combined in mathematical models to inform the choice of regulatory options.  These data-driven options must be viewed through the filters of law and policy to make decisions about air quality plan development, regulatory development and program implementation.  Programs and regulations must be frequently evaluated and updated with respect to changes in environmental conditions, health impact data and federal laws.  In carrying out its air quality planning, DEEP takes into account business and other stakeholder concerns.
 
For the latest news regarding air quality planning's influence on air permitting, please see the Permitting What's New page.
 
 
Air Quality Plans 
The Connecticut State Implementation Plan (SIP) for air quality is a collective of historical plans and regulations, which were approved by EPA as meeting certain requirements of the Clean Air Act.  EPA has the authority to enforce the Connecticut air quality regulations incorporated into the SIP.  EPA’s record of the SIP-incorporated regulations is set out in 40 CFR Part 52 Subpart H.
 
All of Connecticut is currently classified as nonattainment for the 8-hour ozone NAAQS.  Many programs have been adopted and will be implemented over the next several years to continue progress towards achieving the ozone NAAQS. DEEP is currently revising certain programs in response to the RACT mandate under the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQSOzone air quality trends show substantial improvement since ozone air monitoring began in the 1970’s.
 
Most of Connecticut is currently classified as attainment for the annual and 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, except for New Haven and Fairfield counties.  This is based on EPA’s conclusion that these counties were contributing to PM2.5 nonattainment in New York City.  PM2.5 air quality trends have improved since PM2.5 air monitoring began in 1999.
 
All of Connecticut is currently classified as attainment for the long-standing annual and 24-hour SO2 NAAQS, with SO2 air quality trends showing substantial improvement since air monitoring began in the 1970’s.  On June 2, 2010, EPA strengthened the primary NAAQS for SO2, establishing a new 1-hour standard at a level of 75 parts per billion (ppb).  EPA’s promulgation of the new NAAQS triggers a series of planning requirements that will be carried out over the next several years.
 
Although recent 2009 NO2 ambient monitoring data supports a designation of attainment for all of Connecticut for the revised NO2 NAAQS, Connecticut's NO2 attainment status is "unclassifiable".  Consistent with revised monitoring requirements finalized by EPA, CTDEEP will establish an appropriate near-road monitoring network and begin data collection by January 1, 2013.
 
On October 15, 2008, the EPA revised the primary and secondary NAAQS for airborne lead (Pb) to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3).  EPA is expected to finalize initial attainment designations for CT in October, 2011. Lead air quality trends have been steadily downward since the 1970s, especially after the removal of lead from on-road gasoline.
 
EPA requires states to submit regional haze SIPs that describe the states’ measures for meeting the national goal of a return to natural visibility conditions at Class I areas (national parks and wilderness areas) by 2064.  Connecticut submitted its Final Regional Haze SIP on November 18, 2009.
 
 
Regulation Development
Federal regulations are enforceable laws authorized by legislation enacted by Congress. Agencies, such as EPA are empowered to create and enforce regulations.  These federal regulations are created according to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
 
Follow Connecticut’s air related rule making process that calls for a notice of intent to change, adopt, or repeal a regulation. The DEEP while considering rule adoption or amendment, identifies why it is considering such an action, and what authority it has for doing so.
 
In order to assist states in meeting federal requirements to develop and adopt regulations, the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) will form workgroups and develop model rule concepts for state air directors to consider, making regional consistency more likely.  Documents relating to these workgroup activities may be helpful to the reader following the air quality planning process in Connecticut.
 
 
Programs
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation created to support development and implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  RGGI is a cooperative effort among ten states including Connecticut to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Documents relating to credit auctions held by RGGI, Inc. and other documentation will be helpful to the reader following the air quality planning process in Connecticut.
 
EPA requires states to include GHGs in their NSR PSD and Title V permitting programs.  GHGs include: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).  Connecticut sources are required to meet phased-in program requirements beginning in 2011.
 
High electric demand days are tied to poorer air quality as we increase our energy consumption for cooling on the warmest of days.  HEDD initiatives are an opportunity to improve Connecticut’s air quality during the ozone season.  Documents relating to HEDD issues and opportunities will be helpful to the reader following the air quality planning process in Connecticut.
 
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (aka Transport Rule)
CSAPR requires a total of 28 states (not including Connecticut) to reduce annual SO2 emissions, annual NOx emissions and/or ozone season NOx emissions to assist in attaining the 1997 ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and 2006 PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).
 
 
 
Content Last Updated on July 1, 2014