EPA Proposes Revisions to Regional Haze Rule

April 25, 2016 – EPA proposed revisions to its 1999 regional haze rule, which are intended to "streamline, strengthen, and clarify" various aspects of the program, under which states are required to set goals and emission reduction strategies to improve visibility in federal Class I areas.  Among the specific revisions EPA proposes are ones to 1) extend by three years the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submittal deadline for the second regional haze planning period (covering 2019 through 2028) from July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2021 (SIPs for the first planning period, to cover 2008 through 2018, were to have been submitted in 2007); 2) adjust the deadlines for interim progress reports so that the report for the second planning period is due January 31, 2025, the report for the third planning period is due July 31, 2033 and subsequent reports are due every 10 years thereafter; 3) remove the requirement that interim progress reports be in the form of a SIP revision; 4) replace the recurring process of assessing reasonably attributable visibility impairment (RAVI) with an as-needed approach and extend the applicability of RAVI to all states, rather than only those with Class I areas; and 5) require that states consult with Federal Land Managers earlier in the SIP development process.  EPA will hold a webinar on the proposal for state, local and tribal air agencies on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.  Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register (expected on May 5, 2016), a 60-day public comment period will follow.  The agency will hold public hearings on the proposal on May 19, 2016, in Washington, DC and on June 1 or 2, 2016 (TBD) in Denver (the DC hearing is announced in the proposal released by EPA this week; the Denver hearing will be announced in a separate notice).