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Can states expect any regulatory relief or flexibility if they temporarily suspend certain inspections, monitoring, and reporting requirements such as vehicle emissions testing programs or certain air quality monitoring reports under the Clean Air Act?

States should contact the appropriate EPA regional official as individual programs or actions may have their own requirements or processes. Moreover, the Agency has released the following information concerning air monitoring status and priorities. View the COVID-19 Enforcement and Compliance Resources for frequently asked questions about enforcement and compliance and additional guidance.

Statement on Air Monitoring Status and Priorities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with its state, tribal and local partners to ensure that important air quality monitoring continues to the extent possible during the COVID-19 response in the U.S. Across the country, states, tribes and local air agencies maintain air monitoring networks that measure common harmful pollutants such as fine particulate matter and ozone, among others. These monitors are used to determine states’ progress in meeting air quality standards and to inform the public about current air quality conditions through the website. Recognizing that the COVID-19 response may strain states’ monitoring resources and, in some cases, may limit access to monitoring sites, EPA is coordinating with air monitoring agencies to ensure that monitoring continues to the best of agencies’ ability, while safeguarding the health and safety of their employees. EPA has provided air monitoring agencies with suggested priorities for network sites in the event they are forced to limit ambient monitoring in their areas as a result of the COVID-19 response.

Statement on implementation of vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance (I/M) programs during the COVID-19 crisis

EPA understands that states are taking a variety of interim implementation approaches to manage state and local government resources effectively while ensuring the public health and safety or their citizens, including those who are elderly, state and local workers, or others at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.  If any temporary changes to, or repurposing of, I/M program elements have an air quality impact that would need to be addressed at a later date, EPA will work with the state to address any such issues.  In the meantime, we would ask that states notify their EPA Regional Office if they are taking actions of this nature.  EPA will continue to do everything in its power to support states as they balance meeting the immediate public health needs of their citizens with meeting Clean Air Act requirements and their state implementation plan obligations.

Return to Frequent Questions from State, Local and Tribal Leaders about Coronavirus (COVID-19).