Updating General Air Quality Rules in Washingtons State Implementation Plan
General Air Quality Rules - Chapter 173-400 WAC
Washingtons general air quality rules (Chapter 173-400 Washington Administrative Code) include, but arent limited to permitting programs, emissions standards and limits, visibility protection and administrative provisions. They apply statewide, except where EFSEC or a local agency has adopted and implemented its own rules.
Ecology is the state air quality agency and so we developed and implement Washingtons general air quality rule (Chapter 173-400 Washington Administrative Code). We regulate air pollution sources where there is no local air quality agency and all major sources of air pollution that are required to have a permit (Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits).
There are seven Washington Clean Air Agencies. These local agencies regulate air pollution sources in their jurisdictions only. In addition, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) regulates major energy facilities in Washington.
Updating the General Air Quality Rules into the SIP
State and local rules are a major part of Washington's program to meet federal air quality standards. They are reflected in the State Implementation Plan (SIP). Periodically, state and local air quality agencies revise their rules. Revisions may be in response to changes in state law or changes in federal rules.
If Ecology, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), or a local agency revises its rules, Ecology must submit the rule revisions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) so they can be updated in Washingtons SIP. This ensures that the SIP is current. If we werent to revise the SIP to reflect these new rules, parts of the SIP would be outdated and not consistent with the rules. Once the EPA approves the revisions they become part of the SIP consistent with local, state, and federal laws and federally enforceable.
In addition to opportunities to comment during agency rule-making, Ecology also provides opportunities for public comment when these rules need to be submitted to the EPA as revisions to the SIP.
Over the next few years, local air agencies and EFSEC will be updating their general air quality rules and submitting them to Ecology as revisions to the SIP. BCAA is the first agency to submit these rules for inclusion into the SIP.
See below for more information on submitting comments and requesting public hearings.
General steps in the process
Ecologys most recent general air quality rules update to the SIP
Ecology revised the states general air quality rules (Chapter 173-400 WAC) several times since it was last approved into the State Implementation Plan in the 1990s. In 2014, Ecology asked EPA to review and approve most of its updated SIP regulations adopted in November 2012. Only the parts used to protect and maintain federal air quality standards were included in the SIP. See the Rules table on the Infrastructure, Rules and Program SIP page for more information on Ecologys most recent general air quality rules SIP submittal.
Submitting comments and requesting public hearings
Commenting on local rule revisions
Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) and local clean air agencies must offer a public comment period and hearing when they revise their rules. You can comment in person at public hearings, or in writing to the appropriate agency at any time during the comment period. Each agency responds to comments after the comment period closes. Contact the local clean air agencies or EFSEC directly to learn about their rule-making activities.
Commenting on SIP revision submittal packages
After EFSEC and local agencies adopt their rules; they will prepare SIP revision submittal packages and send to Ecology. Ecology will hold a public comment period and offer a public hearing. During this comment period, Ecology will be asking whether or not these recently adopted local rules would continue to maintain or strengthen the SIP and whether or not they should be incorporated into it.
SIP revision submittal package public hearings
A SIP revision submittal package hearing may be held at the same time as the rules adoption hearing, but most often they are held at a later date. Ecology will announce all SIP revision submittal public hearings on our SIP webpage and the public involvement calendar. Ecology will respond to comments received on the SIP revisions before sending the submittal package to the EPA for their approval.
EPA public comment period
EPA reviews the submittals and publishes a proposed action in the Federal Register. A 30 - 60 day public review and comment period begins when this notice is published so the public has an additional opportunity to comment on EPA's proposed action. EPA also considers public input before taking final action on a state's implementation plan.
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