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EPA’s Regional Haze Program

In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a major effort to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. The Regional Haze Rule calls for state and federal agencies to work together to improve visibility in 156 national parks and wilderness areas such as Everglades, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah. See below to learn about the work Florida DEP is doing for the current implementation period and other background information.

Current Implementation Period (2019 – 2028)

On Jan. 10, 2017, EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule revising the Regional Haze Rule. The revised Regional Haze Rule addresses the requirements for the second implementation period (2019 – 2028). EPA has distributed final guidance on the second implementation period that DEP is following throughout the SIP development process.

Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to 40 CFR 51.102, DEP is accepting comments and will hold a public hearing on a proposed revision of Florida’s regional haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the second implementation period of the U. S. Environmental Protection's (EPA’s) Regional Haze Rule. Below are links to the documents comprising Florida’s regional haze SIP.  For more information, including appendices and supporting documentation, please visit the Department’s Regional Haze website.  Written comments must be received on or before July 9, 2021 at the following address: Email: Ashley.Kung@floridadep.gov.  A public hearing was requested and will be held at the Department of Environmental Protection, Bob Martinez Center, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Room 176, Tallahassee, Florida, on July 15, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.  The public hearing can also be attended by teleconference by calling +1 850-629-7330, conference ID: 187328377#; or attended on-line through a Microsoft Teams meeting.  Click here to join the Teams meeting. For further information regarding the public hearing, contact Terri Long at (850)717-9023 or Terri.Long@floridadep.gov

The proposed SIP revision represents commitments and enforceable actions taken by the Department to address the requirements of the Regional Haze Rule during the second implementation period from 2019 to 2028, towards the goal of attaining natural visibility conditions in Florida’s designated federal Class I areas and those federal Class I areas in other states that may be affected by emissions from Florida. Pursuant to 40 CFR 51.308(f), Florida’s regional haze plan includes the following elements:

  • Calculations of baseline, current, and natural visibility conditions; progress to date; and the uniform rate of progress for each Class I area;
  • Documentation of the technical analysis on which Florida is relying to determine reasonable progress, including modeling, emissions, and data analysis;
  • Source-specific reasonable progress four-factor analyses and documentation of the source selection process;
  • Long-term strategy for regional haze resulting from the reasonable progress analyses;
  • Reasonable progress goals;
  • A progress report addressing the requirements of 40 CFR 51.308(g)(1) through (5);
  • Monitoring strategy and other implementation plan requirements; and
  • Documentation of consultation with other states, EPA, and Federal Land Managers (FLMs).

Below are links to Florida’s Regional Haze Pre-Hearing SIP. The “Pre-Hearing 2021-01 - Regional Haze SIP” contains administrative items related to the SIP development process. The “Pre-Hearing Florida Regional Haze Plan for the Second Implementation Period” is the main narrative portion of Florida’s regional haze plan. Appendices A through E include technical support materials and documentation used in developing the regional haze plan. Appendix F includes the documentation of the interagency consultation process. Appendix G includes documentation of the source-specific reasonable progress analyses conducted. Appendix H includes comments from the Federal Land Managers (FLMs) received during the 60-day FLM consultation period. A full "Table of Appendices" is available in the “Pre-Hearing Florida Regional Haze Plan for the Second Implementation Period” document.

*These VISTAS-wide appendices are available on the public VISTAS SharePoint site.

A link to the Pre-Hearing Florida Regional Haze Plan for 2019-2028 is also included on the Air Regulatory Projects page, under "Office of Business Planning Quick Links."

First Implementation Period (2008 – 2018)

The first regional haze SIP was due in 2007. The first implementation period required analysis of both Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) sources and Reasonable Progress sources. BART determinations were only required for the first implementation period.

BART determinations evaluated SO2, NOX and PM10, and considered five factors: (1) the costs of compliance, (2) the energy and non-air quality environmental impacts of compliance, (3) any existing pollution control technology in use at the source, (4) the remaining useful life of the source, and (5) the degree of improvement in visibility which may reasonably be anticipated to result from the use of such technology. There were 46 BART-eligible sources in Florida.

Reasonable progress determinations evaluated only SO2 and were required to consider the four statutory factors in CAA section 169(A)(g)(1): (1) the costs of compliance, (2) the time necessary for compliance, (3) the energy and non-air quality environmental impacts of compliance, and (4) the remaining useful life of any potentially affected sources. Reasonable progress units in Florida were those with a Q/d metric greater than or equal to 50, where Q is the 2002 SO2 emissions of the unit and d is the distance from the unit to the nearest Class I area. There were 32 reasonable progress units at 15 facilities.

On Jan. 31, 2007, Florida adopted Rule 62-296.340, F.A.C., to address BART analyses and on Feb. 7, 2008, Florida adopted Rule 62-296.341, F.A.C., to address reasonable progress four-factor analyses. On March 19, 2010, Florida submitted the initial regional haze SIP which relied on these rules to represent commitment to achieve any required reductions by 2018, the end of the first implementation period. On Aug. 31, 2010, Florida amended the regional haze SIP to remove Rule 62-296.341, F.A.C., and propose to rely on EPA’s CAIR and Boiler MACT to satisfy reasonable progress. This SIP amendment also included case-by-case BART determinations for 5 facilities. Due to the remand of CAIR, Florida amended the SIP again on Sept. 17, 2012, to replace reliance on CAIR and Boiler MACT with case-by-case BART and reasonable progress determinations for all affected sources. Florida amended the SIP one last time on March 10, 2015 to include an additional BART limit for one source. The BART and reasonable progress determinations in the final regional haze SIP are summarized below.

Of the 46 BART-eligible sources:

  • 25 were exempt due to meeting modeling exemption criteria, with 8 receiving permits to meet the criteria.
  • 9 were exempt due to shutting down.
  • 2 demonstrated top-level controls.
  • 10 completed a full BART analysis, with 8 facilities receiving permits to install new controls, upgrade existing controls or set limits.

Of the 32 reasonable progress units:

  • 8 units at 5 facilities required a full four-factor analysis with 2 facilities receiving permits.
  • 3 units at 3 facilities took permit limits to reduce their Q/d to less than 50 and did not require four-factor analysis.
  • 11 units at 3 facilities were permitted to permanently shut down and did not require four-factor analysis.
  • The remaining 10 units were located at 6 BART sources which completed BART determinations in lieu of four-factor analysis.

On Aug. 29, 2013, EPA gave full approval of Florida’s regional haze SIP which was submitted on March 13, 2010, as amended on Aug. 31, 2010, and Sept. 17, 2012. On Oct. 23, 2015, EPA approved Florida’s March 10, 2015 revision to the regional haze SIP which included the additional BART limit for one source.

On March 10, 2015, Florida submitted a regional haze progress report SIP revision to EPA, addressing the requirement that states submit periodic reports describing progress to date on the regional haze plan and a determination of the adequacy of a state’s existing regional haze plan. This progress report SIP demonstrated that Florida was on track to meet the visibility improvement goals set in the regional haze SIP. EPA approved Florida’s regional haze progress report SIP on Aug. 2, 2016.

Background

EPA’s regional haze program addresses requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the protection of visibility in national parks and wilderness areas designated as mandatory Class I federal areas. The following Class I areas in or near Florida are subject to the Regional Haze Rule:

  • Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
  • Everglades National Park
  • St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
  • Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (Georgia)
  • Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge (Georgia)

Visibility in Class I areas can be affected by regional haze caused by the cumulative effects of numerous sources located over a wide geographic area.

The regional haze program aims to improve visibility on the 20% most impaired days (previously the 20% haziest days) and ensure visibility does not degrade on the 20% best days in Class I areas. Progress in visibility improvement is compared to each Class I area’s “uniform rate of progress” or URP which extends from visibility conditions in the baseline period of 2000-2004 to natural visibility conditions in 2064. The figure below shows the current monitored visibility in each Florida Class I area, and the projected visibility in 2028 from EPA’s Regional Haze Modeling. Visibility conditions are currently well below the URP and are projected to remain below the URP with on-the-books controls.

EPA’s Regional Haze Rule initially promulgated July 1, 1999, requires states to submit a series of SIPs to ensure reasonable progress towards natural visibility conditions in Class I areas. As part of the SIP development process, states must evaluate and determine whether any cost-effective emission reduction measures and strategies are available to ensure reasonable progress in the current implementation period.

SESARM (Southeastern States Air Resource Managers, Inc.) coordinates regional haze planning for ten Southeastern states, including Florida, through the regional planning organization VISTAS (Visibility Improvement State and Tribal Association of the Southeast). VISTAS is responsible for convening state, local and tribal air pollution control agencies in the southeast and collaborating on regional air quality analysis work necessary to support development of regional haze SIPs.

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Last Modified:
July 12, 2021 - 10:11am

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