EPA Announces Availability of Policy Assessment for the Review of the Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur

by The Session Law Firm on February 15th, 2011

The Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) of EPA is announcing the availability of a document titled, Policy Assessment for the Review of the Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur (Policy Assessment).  The Policy Assessment contains staff analyses of the scientific bases for alternative policy options for consideration by the Agency prior to rulemaking.

Under section 108(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Administrator identifies and lists certain pollutants which “cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”   The EPA then issues air quality criteria for these listed pollutants, which are commonly referred to as “criteria pollutants.”  The air quality criteria are to accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge useful in indicating the kind and extent of  all identifiable effects on public health or welfare which may be expected from the presence of [a] pollutant in the ambient air, in varying quantities.”  Under section 109 of the CAA, EPA establishes primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) national ambient  air quality standards (NAAQS) for pollutants for which air quality  criteria are issued. Section 109(d) of the CAA requires periodic review  and, if appropriate, revision of existing air quality criteria. The  revised air quality criteria reflect advances in scientific knowledge on the effects of the pollutant on public health or welfare. The EPA is also required to periodically review and revise the NAAQS, if  appropriate, based on the revised criteria.  Read More.

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