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LOCAL LEVEL

CONTACT:
ACHD Air Quality Program
301 39th St., Building #7
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
boh@achd.net

Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)

The Allegheny County Health Department Air Quality Program is responsible for protecting the public’s health by regulating air pollutants within the county, enforcing federal pollution standards and permitting industrial sources of air pollution. It is governed by a nine-member Board of Health appointed by the County Executive, subject to approval by County Council.

Complaint Line: 412-687-ACHD (2243)
By reporting to this line, citizens can help lead ACHD to take enforcement actions and mitigate air pollution issues quickly. Complaints also can be submitted online here.


STATE LEVEL

CONTACT:
Rachel Carson State Office Building
12th Floor, P.O. Box 8468
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8468
717-787-9702

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

DEP’s Bureau of Air Quality is responsible for safeguarding the health of Pennsylvanians by achieving the goals of the federal Clean Air Act and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act. The bureau develops air quality regulations; conducts meteorological tracking and air quality modeling studies and reviews; and develops transportation control measures and other mobile source programs. The bureau also helps to improve the economic climate for firms to locate and expand in Pennsylvania through programs such as the Small Business Assistance Program.


FEDERAL LEVEL

CONTACT:
Region 3 U.S. EPA
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-814-5000
800-438-2474
r3public@epa.gov

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA’s purpose is to ensure that all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work. It is responsible for enforcing federal laws protecting human health and the environment and providing access to accurate information to all citizens. Its contributions help ensure that our communities and ecosystems are diverse, sustainable and economically productive.


Proposed Regulations

Air Pollution Control Permits

Permits that impact air quality, such as an Installation Permit (IP), Operating Permit (OP), Title V Operating Permit Renewals (TVOPR) and IP Modification (IPM).

Permits open to public comment until June 2

Proposed major source operating permit for Braddock Recovery

Copies are open for public inspection at 301 39th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201-1891. Written comments may be submitted to the same address within 30 days from the date of publication of the comment notice or to aqpermits@achd.net. Phone number is 412-578-8115.

The Department may conduct a hearing in response to any given comments. Commenters will be notified in writing of the time and place if a hearing is held.

Appeals to final actions may be filed in accordance with Article XI of the County Health Department Regulations and the Pa. Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S.A. 101 et seq., 551 et seq., & 751 et seq., within 10 days of the date of publication of the notice to the Director, Allegheny County Health Department, 3333 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Proposed regulations and permits in public comment also can be found on the right hand side of the Air Quality Program homepage.

Open Burning Regulations

The Allegheny County Board of Health will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 1 at 10 a.m. in the first floor conference room at Building #7 of the Clack Health Center, 301 39th Street, Lawrenceville, to take testimony on proposed modifications to Allegheny County Health Department regulations on open burning. The proposed changes will be incorporated as a revision to the county’s portion of the Pennsylvania State Implementation Plan. Oral testimony must be pre-scheduled by calling 412-578-8120 no less than 24 hours in advance of the hearing. Speakers will be limited to five minutes and should bring a written copy of their testimony.  Testimony will be accepted by mail through Monday, July 7 or by e-mail at aqcomments@achd.net.

2014 Air Network Review Draft

Annual review of Allegheny County’s network of air quality monitors, including proposed changes. Public comments will be received until 1 p.m. on June 20, 2014.  Please submit comments to: dstern@achd.net.

 

Existing Regulations

Article XXI Air Pollution Control Regulations contains all of the air quality regulations that must be followed in Allegheny County. It sets ambient air quality standards to protect the air resources of Allegheny County through pollution prevention and pollution control.

Air Toxics Review of Installation Permit Applications
Guidelines that establish a policy for use by the Allegheny County Health Department Air Quality Program to evaluate the human health impacts of new or significantly modified sources emitting toxic air emissions into the ambient air. The Board of Health approved these updated air toxics rules on November 7, 2012 (the final version will have some changes).

State Implementation Plan (SIP)

The Clean Air Act requires state and local air pollution control agencies to adopt federally approved control strategies to minimize emissions of the criteria air pollutants or their precursors, including sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, lead, carbon monoxide and ozone. The resulting body of regulations is known as a State Implementation Plan (SIP). Also included are special control strategies for nonattainment areas–areas that are not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Proposed Regulations

Proposed Rulemaking for Additional RACT Requirements for Major Sources of NOx
and VOCs
The Environmental Quality Board proposes to amend Chapters 121 and 129 (relating to general provisions; and standards for sources) to read as set forth in the included “Annex A” of the notice. The proposed rulemaking would amend Chapter 129 to adopt presumptive reasonably available control technology (RACT) requirements and RACT emission limitations for certain major stationary sources of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compound emissions.  The proposed rulemaking will be submitted to the U.S. EPA upon  final-form publication for approval as a revision to the Commonwealth’s State Implementation Plan. The public comment period opened April 19, 2014, and closes June 30, 2014.

Pennsylvania’s 2014-2015 Annual Ambient Air Monitoring Network Plan
The plan has been updated to address changes that have been made in Pennsylvania’s ambient air monitoring network and to identify changes that are anticipated to occur in the remainder of 2014 and in 2015. The public is invited to submit comments on this network plan on or before June 9, 2014.

General Permit 5 (“GP5”) 

The General Permit 5 is a permitting device used by the DEP to pre-approve the construction and operation of a wide array of oil- and gas-related air pollution sources. The General Permit 5 is then applied to individual sites to quickly permit construction and operation of these air pollution sources. Public input and comment on these facilities is reduced to participation in the General Permit 5 revision process only; individuals wishing to provide public comment as with normal construction permits under the Clean Air Act cannot do so any longer.

Finalized Regulations

State Implementation Plan (SIP)

The Clean Air Act requires state and local air pollution control agencies to adopt federally approved control strategies to minimize emissions of the criteria air pollutants or their precursors, including sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, lead, carbon monoxide and ozone. The resulting body of regulations is known as a State Implementation Plan (SIP). Also included are special control strategies for nonattainment areas–areas that are not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley Nonattainment Area

The Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley nonattainment area is located in southwestern Pennsylvania and consists of Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland counties and portions of Allegheny, Armstrong, Greene and Lawrence counties. The Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley nonattainment area previously has violated the U.S. EPA’s health-based annual PM2.5 standard (15.0 μg/m3) set in 1997 and the revised daily standard (35 μg/m3) set in 2006.

Liberty-Clairton Nonattainment Area

Located within the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley Area is a separate nonattainment area known as the Liberty-Clairton nonattainment area, comprised of the boroughs of Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, Port Vue and the city of Clairton. The Liberty-Clairton PM2.5 nonattainment area was designated as a separate nonattainment area because the combination of emissions from the local sources in a narrow river valley creates a distinctive air quality problem.

 

Proposed Regulations

New Source Performance Standards for Stationary Combustion Turbines (“Turbines NSPS”)

The EPA is proposing to update the New Source Performance Standards for turbines at electric generation facilities for administrative efficiency and to expand what kinds of turbines are covered by some pollutant emission limits. The agency also is rethinking how a turbine is considered “reconstructed” in order to get around accounting and repair problems that occur when turbines are remanufactured after several years of use.

Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“RICE NESHAP”)

The EPA recently proposed changes to the RICE NESHAP that would exempt many engines at natural gas compressor stations in rural areas from requiring basic pollution control equipment. The agency also proposed expanding the amount of time low-efficiency, high-polluting diesel emergency generators could operate when necessary for power grid management and reliability.

Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Mixtures

In its response to a citizen petition submitted under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA indicated it would convene a stakeholder process to develop an approach to obtain information on chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing. To gather information, the Agency is issuing this advance notice of proposed rule making and initiating a public participation process to seek comment on the information the should be reported or disclosed for hydraulic fracturing chemical substances and mixtures and the mechanism for obtaining this information. This mechanism could be regulatory, voluntary, or a combination of both and could include best management practices, third-party certification and collection, and incentives for disclosure of this information. In addition, the Agency is seeking comment on ways of minimizing reporting burdens and costs and of avoiding the duplication of state and other federal agency information collections, while maximizing data available for EPA risk characterization, external transparency and public understanding. Also, EPA is soliciting comments on incentives and recognition programs to support the development and use of safer chemicals in hydraulic fracturing. Comments must be received on or before August 18, 2014. Submit your comments by docket information (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-1019 here: http://www.regulations.gov. Or mail to Document Control Office (7407M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 20460-0001.

Finalized Regulations

Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality and stratospheric ozone layer. The EPA sets limits on certain air pollutants and determines how much can be in the air anywhere in the U.S. The EPA also has the authority to limit emissions of air pollutants coming from sources like chemical plants, utilities and steel mills. Individual states or tribes may have stronger air pollution laws, but they may not have weaker pollution limits than those set by EPA.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. These standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of “sensitive” populations such as asthmatics, children and the elderly. They also protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility, damage to animals, crops, vegetation and buildings.

Acid Rain Program
Uses a combination of traditional requirements and a market-based cap and trade program to reduce power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which contribute both to acid rain and to fine particle formation.

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants From Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units (“Utility MACT” or “MATS”)

More than 20 years after the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, some power plants still don’t control emissions of toxic air pollutants despite the wide availability of control technology. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)—finalized by the EPA in February 2012—set the first-ever power plant standards for mercury, acid gases and non-mercury metallic toxic pollutants. The MATS cover about 1,400 coal- and oil-fired electric generating units at 600 power plants, which will have up to four years to comply. The D.C. Circuit Appeals court ruled in favor of the standards in April 2014.

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR)/Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)

The Clean Air Act mandates that sources in one state cannot interfere with attaining pollution standards in another. To resolve this issue, on July 6, 2011, the U.S. EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (also known as the “Transport Rule”) that requires 28 states—including Pennsylvania—to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) that contribute to air pollution in states downwind. In August 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down CSAPR, leaving the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) in place while the EPA goes back to the drawing board. CAIR is a 2005 multi-state cap and trade program also intended to reduce interstate transport of SO2 and NOx, but would not result in as deep reductions in S02 in our region. The EPA filed a petition on October 5, 2012 seeking a rehearing of the CSAPR ruling. On April 29, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision reversing the Court of Appeals and upholding CSAPR.

Clean Air Standards for Harmful Soot Pollution

In response to a court order, the U.S EPA in December 2012 tightened its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot (known as PM 2.5). These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to premature death, heart attacks, stroke, and aggravated asthma. The new soot limit strengthens the annual health standard for PM2.5 to 12 micrograms per cubic meter; it replaced a 1997 annual standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

Oil and Natural Gas Sector New Source Performance Standards, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, and Control Techniques Guidelines (“Oil & Gas NESHAP/NSPS”)

This package of rules has been revised in light of the broad expansion of unconventional shale gas drilling. New performance standards restrict the amount of pollution oil and gas equipment is allowed to emit. New technology requirements were mandated for most aspects of oil and gas drilling and production, including drilling equipment, green completions for wells and compressor stations that move natural gas. These rules, if they survive challenges in court, promise to reduce air pollution from natural gas production in unconventional shale formations.

UPCOMING EVENTS
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold public hearings for the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule the week of July 28 in four locations across the U.S., including Pittsburgh. The hearings will provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, …
MORE INFO >
Clean Water Action this week is hosting members of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY) to share their story of community effort to reduce harmful emissions from the Tonawanda Coke plant, an industrial facility with a heinous …
MORE INFO >
Save the date and start logging those training miles! The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) second annual Clean Air Dash 5K on the South Side’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail will be here before you know it. The fast, flat and …
MORE INFO >
The Allegheny County Health Department will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 1 at 10 a.m. in the first floor conference room at Building #7 of the Clack Health Center, 301 39th Street, Lawrenceville, to take testimony on proposed …
MORE INFO >
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Moderate
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Good
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