The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed approval of Florida’s state implementation plan (SIP) for “prong four” of the Clean Air Act’s (the Act) interstate transport requirements for the 1997 annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5), 2006 24-hour PM2.5, and 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). For SIPs implementing the Act’s NAAQS attainment area requirements, EPA describes the Act’s interstate transport requirements in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) as consisting of four prongs, with prong four requiring that the SIP include provisions to protect visibility in other states. Prongs one and two prohibit states from contributing significantly to nonattainment or interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state, while prong three requires provisions prohibiting a source in the state from interfering with any measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state.
EPA’s proposal would approve Florida’s SIP only as it relates to prong four and is based on its recent approval of Florida’s regional haze SIP, which, although currently subject to a challenge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, EPA concludes will ensure that emissions from Florida are not interfering with measures to protect visibility in other states. The challenge to Florida’s regional haze SIP has been stayed pending resolution of a separate case, and Florida’s regional haze SIP remains in effect pending resolution of the challenge.
While EPA’s proposal only addresses prong four of the Act’s interstate transport requirements, EPA has, in previous actions, already approved Florida’s SIP as satisfying all of the Act’s other attainment area requirements for these three NAAQS except prongs one and two for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 and 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA’s delay in action on prongs one and two for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 and 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is related to the vacatur by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, currently on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Comments on EPA’s proposal are due by April 21, 2014. For additional information, contact Andrew Holway.