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Air Quality Program

Attainment SIPs

After EPA designates an area nonattainment, Ecology has to prepare a plan that describes how the area will be brought back into attainment. This plan is called an Attainment State Implementation Plan (SIP). Information about Washington Attainment SIPs can be found on the EPA web site here.

Attainment plan contents

Specific contents of each SIP vary depending on the federal requirements and existing state regulations. In general, an attainment plan covers the following:

  • Current, comprehensive, and accurate inventories of emissions from point, area, and mobile sources.
  • A control strategy to reach or maintain the NAAQS.
  • Relevant statutes and rules supporting the control strategy.
  • Other means or programs contributing to attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS.
  • Air quality analyses that include the demonstration that adequate controls are in place to ensure the area will attain or maintain the NAAQS within a specific timeframe.
  • Contingency measures that will be implemented if an area fails to attain or maintain the NAAQS or make reasonable progress toward attainment by the required date.

Steps for development and approval of an attainment plan

Development of a SIP can take an extended period. Here is a general outline of the steps in this process:

  • Determine emissions (inventory industrial, commercial, mobile, and residential sources of air pollution)
  • Develop a strategy to reduce emissions
  • Project emission changes resulting from the control strategy
  • Model the projected emission changes to determine the changes in air quality
  • Compare to the relevant NAAQS
  • Adjust the air pollution control strategy as necessary and re analyze
  • Draft rules to implement the control strategy and adopt them using the state process
  • Conduct public outreach and provide 30-day notice on the attainment plan
  • Hold a public hearing
  • Adopt the attainment plan on the state level and certify that federally required public involvement has been met
  • Submit the plan to EPA for approval
  • EPA uses the Federal Register for approval of an attainment plan. EPA publishes its proposed approval or disapproval of a plan as a proposed rule in the Federal Register. The public is provided a specific period of time for comment on the proposed rule.  EPA reviews the public comment and publishes its approval or disapproval of the plan as a final rule in the Federal Register.

If EPA approves a SIP submittal, the process is complete. If EPA disapproves a SIP or a portion of it, states must revise their submittal to address the issues.

Other links

Tacoma-Pierce County Nonattainment Area

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