Air Quality Regulations in Washingtons State Implementation Plan (SIP)
Chapter 173-400 Washington Administrative Code (WAC) is Washingtons general air quality regulation, developed by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology). Other agencies with air quality responsibilities in Washington either have their own regulations, or rely on Ecology's regulations to control air pollution from facilities and industries in their jurisdiction. These state and local regulations are a major part of Washington's program to meet federal air quality standards. The main purpose of these standards is to protect human health.
Washington's SIP is a statewide plan for meeting and maintaining air quality standards. It is required by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). Air quality regulations are an important part of Washington's SIP.
Periodically, state and local air quality agencies revise their regulations for meeting and maintaining air quality standards. Revisions may be in response to changes in state law or changes in federal regulations. Revisions that modify existing portions of the SIP must be submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review and approval into the SIP. The regulations approved into the SIP are federally enforceable.
Ecology amended Chapter 173-400 WAC to make it consistent with federal requirements. This is needed for EPA to approve Washington's new source review and prevention of significant deterioration permitting programs into the SIP. SIP approval helps ensure that Washington is consistent with federal law while attaining and maintaining good air quality and protecting citizen's health.
Washington's air quality agencies
Ecology is the state air quality agency. It regulates:
Local air quality agencies
There are seven local air quality agencies in Washington. These local agencies regulate air pollution sources in their jurisdictions. Chapter 173-400 WAC applies statewide, except where a local agency has adopted and implemented its own rules. The exception to this is that Ecology always regulates sources subject to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program.
Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC)
EFSEC regulates major energy facilities in Washington. EFSEC contracts with Ecology to write the air quality permits that are jointly issued by EFSEC and EPA.
The proposed update to the SIP
Ecology has revised Chapter 173-400 WAC several times since it was last approved into the SIP in the 1990s. Ecology is now preparing to ask EPA to review and approve most of its updated regulation into the SIP. This proposal will:
Is Ecology proposing to revise the regulation again?
Which version of Chapter 173-400 WAC is being proposed for
inclusion in the SIP?
Will the entire regulation be in the SIP?
What are the main differences between the revised regulation and the one currently in the SIP?
These and other changes are described in detail in the SIP submittal package, and are available for the public to review and comment on before Ecology submits the package to EPA.
What is in package Ecology submits to EPA?
How can I learn more and comment?
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Local and EFSEC Regulations
Since the SIP is a statewide plan, other agencies in Washington with air quality jurisdiction participate in the process. Washington's seven local air quality agencies and EFSEC are now in the process of evaluating their regulations to determine what may need to be revised. As each agency revises its regulations and determines what is required to be included in the SIP, Ecology will provide opportunities for public comment. The process of submitting Ecology, EFSEC, and local agency regulations to EPA will probably take about two years.
Steps in the process
Below is a general idea of how we expect the process to take place:
EFSEC and local agencies will offer a public comment period and hold a public hearing when they revise their regulations. You can comment in person at public hearings, or in writing to the appropriate agency at any time during the public comment period. Each agency will respond to comments about its own regulation.
EFSEC and local agencies will prepare SIP submittal packages, which will also have public comment periods and hearings. Ecology conducts these hearings on SIP submittal packages. A SIP hearing may be held at the same time as the regulation adoption hearing, or later. Ecology, with the help of the agency revising its rules, will respond to comments received on the SIP revision.
Air quality agency contacts
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