EPA: 37 States Have Inadequate Clear Air Act Plans
The year 2064 seems awfully far away, but this is the target date of a national program intended to restore parks and wilderness areas to their once natural splendor.
In a Federal Register notice Friday, EPA said 37 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands failed to submit all or a portion of state implementation plans (SIPs) for regional haze, which are required under a national program aimed at restoring parks and wilderness areas to their natural conditions by 2064.
This is a disappointing failure rate given the urgency of the issue and the importance of maintaining these natural landscapes for the benefit of generations to come. EPA failed to enforce rules regarding SIPs and several advocacy groups sued in October to stress the necessity of follow-through to individual states.
The 1999 regional haze rule is aimed at reducing pollution that decreases visibility in parks and other areas with pristine air. Under the program, states are required to include determinations of best available retrofit technology for 26 different types of major industrial facilities built between 1962 and 1977, including coal-fired power plants, petroleum refiners and pulp and paper mills.
In Western states, the average distance a person can see is between 60 and 100 miles, about one-half to two-thirds of what it would be without man-made air pollution, according to the National Park Service. In Eastern states, it is less than 30 miles, or about a fifth of what it would be under natural conditions.
The 32 states that have not submitted plans on time are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Thirteen of those states have submitted clean air blueprints, which are now subject to EPA review.
Five states submitted SIPs that satisfy some requirements: Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico and Wyoming.