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News Releases from Region 06

EPA provides regulatory certainty in Arkansas; clears state backlog of clean-air plans

Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant, or 214 665-2200

DALLAS (Oct. 17, 2019) –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently eliminated all backlogs of Arkansas State Implementation Plans (SIPs). This action further emphasizes EPA’s goal to provide regulatory certainty and ensure that all Americans breathe cleaner air. EPA worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to resolve issues related to air permitting plans while ensuring the state complies with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).   

“EPA has been hard at work to both improve air quality and remove unnecessary red tape,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen.  “This effort has allowed Arkansas to eliminate its paperwork backlog and provide greater certainty to America’s energy providers and job creators. States know best how to make regulations work for the benefit of their communities and environment.”

“DEQ’s Office of Air Quality has made significant efforts to advance air-quality outcomes and increase responsiveness through reduction of backlogs and continuous-improvement strategies,” said DEQ Director Becky Keogh. “As a regional and national leader, Arkansas’s and EPA’s efforts in clearing backlog provide certainty to the regulated community and the public through clear, protective rulemaking.”

EPA has made the protection of public health a priority in the review, approval and disapproval process of state air plans. This is particularly relevant for at-risk communities impacted by air quality. EPA took a common-sense approach to carefully reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens that stifle economic growth for communities in Arkansas and across the county. The elimination of the backlog in Arkansas promotes cooperative federalism between Arkansas and EPA by providing additional flexibility to issue air permits.

A SIP is a collection of regulations and documents used by a state, territory or local air district to reduce air pollution in areas that do not meet NAAQS.  

Overall, EPA has made significant progress to address backlogged SIPs from the previous administration and will continue to work with our state partners to ensure that the Clean Air Act standards are met across the country. EPA looks forward to continuing to work with state, local and tribal government partners to fulfill the Congressional design of protecting public health through cooperative federalism.

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