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The Clean Data Policy and Regulations

Under EPA's Clean Data Policy and the regulations that embody it, 40 CFR 51.918 (1997 8-hour ozone) and 51.1004(c) (PM-2.5), an EPA rulemaking determination that an area is attaining the relevant standard suspends the area's obligations to submit an attainment demonstration, reasonable available control measures (RACM), reasonable further progress, contingency measures and other planning requirements related to attainment for as long as the area continues to attain. EPA's statutory interpretation of the Clean Data Policy is described in the "Final Rule to Implement the 8-hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard—Phase 2" (Phase 2 Final Rule). 70 FR 71612, 71644-46 (Nov. 29, 2005) (ozone); See also 72 FR 20586, 20665 (Apr. 25, 2007) (PM-2.5). EPA believes that the legal bases set forth in detail in our Phase 2 Final rule, our May 10, 1995 memorandum from John S. Seitz, entitled "Reasonable Further Progress, Attainment Demonstration, and Related Requirements for Ozone Nonattainment Areas Meeting the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard," and our December 14, 2004 memorandum from Stephen D. Page entitled "Clean Data Policy for the Fine Particle National Ambient Air Quality Standards" are equally pertinent to all NAAQS. EPA has codified the Clean Data Policy for 1997 8-hour ozone and PM-2.5, and has also applied it in individual rulemakings for 1-hour ozone and PM-10.

Under the Clean Data Policy, EPA may issue a determination of attainment (known informally as a Clean Data Determination) after notice and comment rulemaking determining that a specific area is attaining the relevant standard. For such areas the requirement to submit to EPA those SIP elements related to attaining the NAAQS is suspended for so long as the area continues to attain the standard. These planning elements include reasonable further progress (RFP) requirements, attainment demonstrations, RACM, contingency measures, and other state planning requirements related to attainment of the NAAQS. The determination of attainment is not equivalent to a redesignation, and the state must still meet the statutory requirements for redesignation in order to be redesignated to attainment. A determination of attainment for purposes of the Clean Data Policy/regulations is also not linked to any particular attainment deadline, and is not necessarily equivalent to a determination that an area has attained the standard by its applicable attainment deadline, e.g., under section 181(b).

See the EPA Green Book website for comprehensive nonattainment area information for criteria pollutants. This website includes current area, state and county nonattainment and classification status, clean data determinations, redesignations, links to associated Federal Register Notices, GIS maps, and downloadable shapefiles and data exports.

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