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Regional Haze - VISTAS

Statutory and Regulatory Authority | Implementation Status | Future Actions | Contact and Links

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Statutory and Regulatory Authority

The Regional Haze Rule, published on July 1, 1999, was issued to improve visibility in 156 Class I areas - national parks and wilderness areas across the country. In 1999, EPA identified five regional planning organizations (RPOs) to mitigate regional haze in the Class 1 areas. The Southeast States Air Resources Managers (SESARM) was originally identified as the RPO for the southeast. EPA Region 4 was also designated then as the lead region to work with SESARM. SESARM is the entity responsible for coordinating and implementing regional planning for the 18 Class I areas within the eight Region 4 states (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) plus Virginia, West Virginia, and Tribes. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF, 6.3kb, 5 pages), these parties have agreed to collaborate in the initiation and coordination of planning activities associated with the management of regional haze, visibility, and other air quality issues. This collaboration is known as Visibility Improvement - State and Tribal Association of the Southeast (VISTAS). These efforts will be carried out with federal funds provided by EPA to SESARM.

Class I areas in the VISTAS coverage region

VISTAS represents an association of States and Tribes that have the authority and responsibility to develop, adopt, and implement their individual State and Tribal air quality implementation plans. To facilitate the development of these plans, VISTAS recognizes the importance of involving all stakeholders in the process, including State and Tribal representatives, local air quality officials, EPA, Federal Land Managers from the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, and representatives from environmental groups, industry, academia, and the general public. Three standing workgroups exist through which all stakeholders may participate: the Data, Planning, and Technical Analysis Workgroups. Additionally:

Shining Rock Wilderness with a visual range of 90 miles Shining Rock Wilderness with a visual range of 12 miles
Comparison of Good and Bad Visibility Days at Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina

Implementation Status

VISTAS staff and the VISTAS member states, along with several independent contractors, are providing technical oversight and performing the work necessary to allow States to submit their SIPs in the 2007 – 2008 time frame. Work includes a review and analysis of existing data, additional data collection through ambient monitoring, emissions inventory development for point, area, and mobile sources, and meteorological, atmospheric and emissions modeling. States in the VISTAS region are continuing the effort to develop a list of BART-eligible sources. Coordination with the other four RPOs [MANE-VU, WRAP, CENRAP, and the Midwest RPO] is maintained through regularly scheduled conference calls and meetings. A data repository for the sharing and storing of analyses and data for the RPOs has been developed and is known as the Visibility Information Exchange Web System, or VIEWS.

Future Actions

Work under existing contracts continues as VISTAS develops the technical analysis for future control strategies to address the 20 percent worst and best visibility days in the southeast Class I areas of concern. VISTAS will develop the technical information its member States and tribes need for the SIPs. The Region is actively participating in the three technical sub-workgroups for VISTAS and the Regional Planning Contact is working closely with the national workgroup on Regional Haze. Region 4 is currently the co-lead Region for Regional Haze.

Regional Haze Planning Contact

Michele Notarianni (404) 562-9031


EPA Visibility Website
Visibility Imformation Exchange Web System (VIEWS) DatabaseExit EPA
Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE)Exit EPA


For information on the contents of this page contact Amanetta Somerville .

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