EPA’s 2012 Primary Annual Fine Particle Designation Identifies Attainment Status for All of West Virginia

EPA designated all of West Virginia as being in attainment for the 2012 primary annual fine particle (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) by rule on December 18, 2014. This is significant for industry and business development in West Virginia because, air permitting requirements applicable to the construction of new major sources and major modifications of existing major sources of criteria pollutants are tied to whether a region is in attainment or nonattainment with the NAAQS. Air permitting requirements in attainment areas are less stringent.

EPA identified 14 areas that do not meet the 2012 primary annual PM2.5 NAAQS and designated these areas as nonattainment and classified these nonattainment areas as “moderate.” These nonattainment areas are located in California, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. EPA is postponing the designation period for up to a year for those areas where it says insufficient data exists to make a designation at this time. For your reference, EPA revised the primary annual PM2.5 NAAQS on December 14, 2012, from 15.0 ug/m3 to a more stringent 12.0 ug/m3, which is attained when the 3-year average of the annual arithmetic means does not exceed 12.0 ug/m3. (The primary standards are designed to be protective of public health.)

Laura Goldfarb helps clients resolve their environmental policy, regulation, and enforcement problems. Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson, Ms. Goldfarb was Assistant Counsel at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, where she represented the agency in a variety of matters relating to the state's environmental programs, and drafted regulatory and statutory environmental provisions for the State of West Virginia.
 
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