Environmental

EPA’s 2012 Primary Annual Fine Particle Designation Identifies Attainment Status for All of West Virginia

By Laura M. Goldfarb

EPA designated all of West Virginia as being in attainment for the 2012 primary annual fine particle (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) by rule on December 18, 2014. This is significant for industry and business development in West Virginia because, air permitting requirements applicable to the construction of new major sources and major modifications of existing major sources of criteria pollutants are tied to whether a region is in attainment or nonattainment with the NAAQS. Air permitting requirements in attainment areas are less stringent.

EPA identified 14 areas that do not meet the 2012 primary annual PM2.5 NAAQS and designated these areas as nonattainment and classified these nonattainment areas as “moderate.” These nonattainment areas are located in California, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. EPA is postponing the designation period for up to a year for those areas where it says insufficient data exists to make a designation at this time. For your reference, EPA revised the primary annual PM2.5 NAAQS on December 14, 2012, from 15.0 ug/m3 to a more stringent 12.0 ug/m3, which is attained when the 3-year average of the annual arithmetic means does not exceed 12.0 ug/m3. (The primary standards are designed to be protective of public health.)

Laura Goldfarb focuses her practice in the areas of energy and environmental regulatory issues, remediation and the litigation of environmental enforcement and environmental tort cases, including participation in appeals of regulatory decisions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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