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Exceptional Events and Fire Policy

Exceptional Events and Fire Policy

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Exceptional Events and Fire Policy

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  1. Disclaimer: Positions and views expressed here represent draft EPA guidance and/or staff recommendations and not final Agency policy Exceptional Events and Fire Policy Presented by Don Hodge, U.S. EPA Region 9 Interagency Air and Smoke Council meeting May 2, 2012

  2. Clean Air ActThe Basics • Regulates • Criteria pollutants • Visibility • Process • Federal: sets NAAQS and designates attainment • State, Tribal, local: develop implementation plans, regulate emissions, and monitor concentrations and haze • Goal • Maintain or attain air quality meeting standards • As shown by ambient air monitoring data

  3. Clean Air Act Exceptions Some events are not under regulatory control EER provides the process to exclude valid ambient concentration data from attainment determinations 40 CFR 50.1(j), 40 CFR 50.14

  4. Definition of “Exceptional Event”40 CFR 50.1(j) • Affected air quality • Natural or • Caused by human activity and unlikely to recur at a particular location • Event was not reasonably controllable or preventable • Event was not related to: • Weather • Source noncompliance

  5. Fire Policy purpose • Prescribed fire characteristics • Long-term ecological and human health benefits • Human activity • Likely to recur at same location? • Reasonably controllable or preventable? • Fire Policy intended to clarify application of EER in this case

  6. Fire Policy process • Interim Fire Policy requirements • State-certified smoke management plan • Basic smoke management practices • Revised Fire Policy development status • EPA leads are revising the draft to address comments from EPA regional offices on Federal Land Managers’ proposed language • Revised draft policy expected summer 2012

  7. Contacts • Exceptional events • Katherine Hoag, Air Quality Analysis Office • Hoag.Katherine@EPA.gov • 415-972-3970 • Fire Policy Process • Don Hodge, Agriculture Program • Hodge.Don@EPA.gov • 415-972-3240

  8. Demonstration of “Exceptional Event” • Clear causal relationship • Concentrations in excess of normal historical concentrations • No exceedance/violation but for the event

  9. Exceptional Events RuleThe Process • State air-quality agencies flag the monitoring data and submit documentation connecting the data to an exceptional event. • EPA reviews documentation. Options: concur, not concur, not act. • If we concur, we: • Exclude data from NAAQS attainment demonstration • Document our concurrence

  10. Exceptional Events GuidanceRecent Activity • Elements currently drafted • High Winds Guidance document • Extensive Q/A • Resources, examples: www.epa.gov/ttn/analysis/exevents.htm • Review and revision timeline • Summer 2011: state/local/tribal and FLM agency comments received • Spring/Summer 2012: finalize response to comments document and send to original commenters • Later in 2012: release revised draft guidance for broader public review and comment via a Notice of Data Availability in the Federal Register • Finalize guidance • Determine next steps regarding potential rule changes • Planned elements • demonstration elements for wildfire / ozone exceptional events • prescribed fire