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Particulate Matter (PM)

Fact Sheet: Implementation of New or Revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particle Pollution

printable version (PDF, 3 pp., 48 KB)

ACTION

  • On February 3, 2006, EPA provided an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for implementation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particle pollution (PM) which the Agency proposed on January 17, 2006.
  • The purpose of the ANPR is to assure stakeholders that EPA is aware of and is considering the multiple issues associated with implementing any revised PM fine standards, and possible new PM coarse standards that may result from the January proposal. The ANPR also announces that the Agency will seek comment on key implementation issues to ensure that stakeholders points view are considered as EPA develops implementation plans.
  • In the ANPR, EPA is providing potential timelines (below) for both the revised PM fine and PM coarse standards for designations, State Implementation Plan submittal, and attainment dates.
  • The ANPR recognizes that no final decision has been made concerning whether or how to revise the existing PM standards, but address various implementation issues in the event they are revised.
  • In the ANPR, EPA also highlights and provides preliminary thinking on how to address some of the key New Source Review issues related to the proposed new PM coarse standard and the transition from a PM10 to a PM coarse standard.
  • The ANPR solicits comments on how to best implement the transition from the current PM fine to the proposed revised PM fine standard, and from the PM10 standard to the proposed new PM coarse standard. It also requests comments on various issues related to revocation of the current PM fine standard, and the PM10 standard where it remains.
  • EPA will take public comment on or before April 10, 2006. Based on comments, EPA will then determine a schedule for proposal of implementation plans for the new PM standards.

POTENTIAL TIMELINES FOR IMPLEMENTING THE STANDARDS

The Jan 17 proposal stated that the final rule would be published in Sept 2006. Two implementation schedules would apply (one for PM2.5 and another for PM10-2.5) if EPA revises the PM NAAQS at that time.

Possible Timeline for Fine Particles (PM2.5)

  • Effective date of standard: December 2006
  • Using monitoring data from 2005-2007, states would make recommendations by December 2007 for areas to be designated attainment and nonattainment.
  • EPA would make final designations by December 2009; those designations would become effective in April 2010.
  • State Implementation Plans, outlining how states will reduce pollution to meet the standards, would be due three years after designations, in April 2013.
  • States would have to meet the standards by April 2015.
  • In some cases, a state could receive additional time to meet the standard (up to April 2020).

Possible Timeline for Inhalable Coarse Particles (PM 10-2.5)

  • EPA would not designate attainment and nonattainment areas until it has three consecutive years of monitoring data showing PM10-2.5 levels. The Agency anticipates that data will be available in 2012 (2009-2011 data).
  • States would make recommendations in July 2012 for areas to be designated attainment and nonattainment.
  • EPA would make final designations in May 2013; those designations would become effective in July 2013.
  • State Implementation Plans would be due three years after designations, in July 2016.
  • States would have to meet the standards by July 2018.
  • In some cases, a state could receive additional time to meet the standard (up to July 2023).

BACKGROUND

  • The Clean Air Act directs EPA to set NAAQS for pollutants that the Agency has listed as "criteria pollutants," based on their likelihood of causing adverse effects to public health and welfare. EPA sets national air quality standards for six common air pollutants: ground-level ozone (smog), carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
  • The Act requires EPA to revise the health and welfare-based standards once every five years to determine whether revisions to the standards are necessary to provide the appropriate levels of protection.
  • Once a standard is set, then the Agency must determine the best means of implementing that standard. EPA is currently proposing implementation rules for the 1997 PM fine standard.
  • On December 20, 2005, EPA issued revisions to the particulate matter NAAQS. These proposed revisions were published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2006.
  • The proposed revisions address two categories of particulate matter: fine particles which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller; and inhalable coarse particles, which are smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter but larger than PM2.5. EPA has had national air quality standards for fine particles since 1997 and for coarse particles 10 micrometers and smaller (PM10) since 1987.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

  • Today's proposed action and other background information are also available either electronically at the federal government's docket management system, or in hard copy at EPA West, U.S. EPA (6102T), 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460. (Docket ID No. OAR-2005-0175). The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center is (202) 566-1742.

HOW TO COMMENT

Comments will be accepted on or before April 10, 2006. All comments should be identified by Docket ID No. OAR-2005-0175 and submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal e-rulemaking portal; www.regulations.gov;
  • E-mail (a-and-r-docket@epa.gov);
  • Facsimile (202) 566-1741;
  • Mail (Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460); or
  • Hand delivery (Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).

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