In a January 22 draft final rulemaking, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) embarked on a novel legal strategy to improve air quality in the state from sources in Pennsylvania as well as those outside the state. The new rule would require air coming into to the state to meet certain public health standards for nitrogen oxides(NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), similar to those for other products coming into Pennsylvania.
The proposed rule includes sources in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. The rule requires large fossil-fueled boilers in these areas to reduce NOx emisssions by 75 percent from their 1990 level by no later than 2003.
This is the latest Pennsylvania effort to address regional ozone transport issues. In 1997, the state petitioned EPA under Section 126 of the federal Clean Air Act to adopt a regional ozone approach. The petition was granted, but Pennsylvania sued EPA on the implementation schedule. EPA's 22 state NOx emission reduction rule was subsequently set aside following as successful challenge by Midwest and Southern state utilities.
A copy of the proposed rule can be obtained from the PADEP website at www.dep.state.pa.us.