EPA Approves New Jersey’s Plan to Reduce Nitrogen Oxide Pollution
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved New Jersey’s revised plan to reduce certain air pollutants in the Garden State. The plan enables the state to carry out the provisions of EPA’s Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which will permanently cap emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the eastern United States.
“The Clean Air Interstate Rule is an important part of the Bush Administration’s plan to help states in the eastern United States meet national health-based air quality standards.” said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator. "EPA has carefully examined New Jersey’s plan to reduce air pollution and is satisfied that these changes are consistent with federal standards and will benefit the health of the state and its neighbors.”
New Jersey’s plan, known as a state implementation plan (SIP), is federally-enforceable. It identifies how the state will achieve and maintain federal standards for principal pollutants identified by EPA. Developed through a public process and subject to public comments, each state is required to have a SIP that contains control measures and strategies to be formally adopted by the state and submitted to EPA for approval.
EPA allows the states some flexibility in meeting the requirements under CAIR. The Agency is taking final action to approve a revision to New Jersey’s SIP, which was submitted on February 6, 2007. The change affects the existing federal plans that put CAIR into operation in New Jersey. The SIP revision allows the state to use its own methodology, rather than the federal approach, for determining and distributing NOx allowances, which are authorizations that allow the production of a fixed amount of a pollutant. With the approval of New Jersey’s plan, the state will be allowed to use its own allocation methodology to calculate NOx emissions. The CAIR federal plans remain in place for all other NOx and SO2 provisions. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by more than 70 percent and NOx emissions by more than 60 percent from 2003 levels.
At the end of 2004, 13 New Jersey counties were designated as not attaining EPA’s health-based standard for fine particles. CAIR will help bring all of these counties into attainment by 2010. Twenty-one New Jersey counties were also designated as not meeting EPA’s health-based standard for smog. CAIR will significantly reduce the levels of smog in all of these counties. CAIR is one part of EPA’s comprehensive plan to reduce air pollution throughout the nation.
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