What is General Conformity?
General Conformity ensures that the actions taken by federal agencies do not interfere with a state’s plans to attain and maintain national standards for air quality.
Established under the Clean Air Act (section 176(c)(4)), the General Conformity rule plays an important role in helping states and tribes improve air quality in those areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Under the General Conformity rule, federal agencies must work with state, tribal and local governments in a nonattainment or maintenance area to ensure that federal actions conform to the air quality plans established in the applicable state or tribal implementation plan.
EPA initially promulgated the General Conformity rule in 1993. Subsequently, EPA collected information from other federal agencies on how to maintain the same environmental protections while streamlining the General Conformity implementation process. This information was used to revise the General Conformity rule. After soliciting public comments, EPA issued final rule revisions on April 5, 2010.