On January 15, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published final area designations for the 2012 primary national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). EPA also deferred area designations for several areas, including the entire state of Florida, until more complete data are available. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection previously recommended that the entire state be designated as in attainment with the 2012 PM2.5 standard, and EPA responded with its intent to designate the entire state as unclassifiable/attainment. However, EPA is now deferring area designations in Florida, citing “recently identified potential data quality issues” and the need for additional time to further evaluate the validity of Florida’s data to determine whether areas in Florida meet the standard. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to complete initial area designations within two years of promulgating the NAAQS, but also allows EPA to extend that deadline by one year if it does not have sufficient information to make the designations.
The rule is effective April 15, 2015, and EPA has established a February 27, 2015, deadline for states to submit 2014 data.
For additional information, contact Andrew Holway.