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EPA Issues Guidance to Support States in Regional Haze Planning

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WASHINGTON (August 20, 2019) -- Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released guidance to assist states as they develop plans to address visibility impairment for the second implementation period under EPA’s Regional Haze Rule. This is one of a series of implementation tools and guidance documents that will help focus states’ efforts and reduce and streamline the time and resources needed to meet the statutory and regulatory requirements for reducing regional haze in National Parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas.

“Data show that state efforts have achieved significant improvements in visibility throughout the country with visual range improving by 20 to 30 miles in national parks and wilderness areas between 2000 and 2015,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are following our Regional Haze Roadmap to build on lessons learned during the first implementation period and provide enhanced support for states during the second implementation period.”

State Implementation Plans (SIPs) for the second implementation period of the regional haze program must be submitted to EPA by July 31, 2021. The 2019 guidance highlights the discretion and flexibilities states have within the statutory and regulatory requirements for their regional haze SIPs. The guidance will reduce planning burdens associated with preparing regional haze SIPs and will help states leverage the emission reductions from other Clean Air Act programs that also improve visibility. The guidance document is organized by SIP development step and provides example approaches and recommendations for each of the steps.

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The Clean Air Act establishes a national goal to eliminate existing and prevent future visibility impairment in national parks and wilderness areas due to man-made pollution. In September 2018, Administrator Wheeler issued a Regional Haze Reform Roadmap, outlining upcoming development of guidance and tools to facilitate efficient, timely, and effective implementation of the Regional Haze Program. These actions are anchored in the regional haze program’s core statutory foundation and certain key principles.