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Proposed Fine Particulate Nonattainment Area Designation Recommendations

[43 Pa.B. 6598]
[Saturday, November 2, 2013]

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is seeking public comment on its proposed recommendations to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the designation of areas not meeting the revised annual health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulates (PM2.5). Reducing concentrations of this pollutant is important because levels above the health-based standard are a serious human health threat and also can cause or contribute to other negative environmental impacts.

 The EPA established a revised NAAQS for PM2.5 in December 2012. The annual standard for PM2.5 was made more protective and changed from 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) to 12 µg/m3. An area does not attain the annual standard if the annual concentration, averaged over 3 years, is more than 12 µg/m3. Following promulgation of new or revised air standards, states are given the opportunity to submit recommendations for attainment/nonattainment areas, supported by most recent quality-assured and quality-controlled monitoring data.

 The proposed designation recommendations are based primarily on air quality ambient monitoring (2010-2012), as well as emissions data, meteorology, geography/topography and jurisdictional boundaries. Based on this information, the Department is seeking comment on recommending that the EPA designate as ''nonattainment'' areas the Greater Philadelphia Area (which includes Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia Counties), Northampton County Area, Lancaster County Area, Cambria County Area, the Greater Pittsburgh Area (which includes Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties) and the Liberty/Clairton Area. The Department is also seeking comment on recommending that the EPA designate the counties monitoring below the standard as ''attainment'' areas and the remaining Commonwealth counties as ''unclassifiable/attainment'' areas.

 The Department will be submitting recommendations in December 2013. The EPA is expected to make final designations in December 2014. The Department would then have 18 months to develop a plan for any areas designated as nonattainment to meet the NAAQS. This proposal is available on the Department's web site at http://www.depweb.state.pa.us (choose ''Air Quality''), or through the contact person listed as follows.

 Written comments on the proposed nonattainment area designation recommendations should be sent to Bryan Oshinski, Division of Air Resource Management, Bureau of Air Quality, P. O. Box 8468, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8468 or (preferred) boshinski@pa.gov, no later than November 18, 2013. Use ''2012 PM2.5 Recommended Designations'' in the subject line, and include the name, affiliation (if any), mailing address and telephone number of the interested person.

E. CHRISTOPHER ABRUZZO, 
Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-2058. Filed for public inspection November 1, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]



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