Department of Ecology, Spokane Clean Air - Joint News Release - October 1, 2015

Spokane County plans for another decade of clean air
Public comment sought on updated air quality plan

SPOKANE – Thanks to the efforts of citizens and local governments, Spokane County has met federal air quality standards for the past 20 years. And to help continue the trend for the next decade, an updated air quality plan lays out how the county will continue to meet health-based standards through 2025.

The Washington Department of Ecology and Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency invite the public to review and comment on this draft 10-year plan through Nov. 9, 2015. This plan details how Spokane County will stay in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particle pollution in the air.

The updated plan does not add rules or change requirements, but continues the same control strategies that are in place from the county’s first maintenance plan developed in 2005. These strategies include street cleaning, paving requirements for parking lots, temporary burn bans for woodstoves, emission requirements for new stoves, limits on some major industrial sources, and air quality monitoring.

Cleaning up and maintaining clean air

In the 1980s, the urbanized areas of Spokane County violated national air quality standards for particle pollution. This area includes the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Millwood and surrounding unincorporated areas. The violations led to the area being designated a non-attainment area by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1990. Ecology and Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency then had to develop an initial plan to clean up air quality and keep it clean.

Since then, Spokane County has reduced air particle pollution levels to a point that, even with population and vehicle use growth, they’re not expected to exceed the national standard. This improvement qualifies the area for a streamlined plan, called a Limited Maintenance Plan, to fulfill the requirements. The updated plan is the final federal planning requirement for areas once in violation of the standard. Learn more about the process on Ecology’s website.

Submitting comments

The draft plan is available for review online. The deadline to submit comments is Nov. 9. Citizens may also request a hearing. Hearing requests must be received no later than Oct. 23.

To submit public comments, or request a hearing, please email Ecology at AQComments@ecy.wa.gov or send to:

Laurie Hulse-Moyer Washington State Department of Ecology P.O. Box 47600 Olympia, WA 98504-7600

If a hearing is requested by the deadline, hearings will be held at 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency offices, 3104 E. Augusta Ave., Spokane. If no hearing is requested, Ecology will announce a cancellation on its public involvement calendar.

Ecology will review and consider all comments before submitting the plan to EPA. All comments will be summarized and published along with Ecology’s responses.

Contact:

Jessica Payne, Ecology communications, 360-407-6548, @ecyspokane

Margee Chambers, Spokane Clean Air public information, 509-477-4727 ext. 114