EPA Agrees to Reconsider Air Monitoring Requirements for Lead
On July 22, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") announced that it would reconsider some of its lead monitoring requirements in response to a petition submitted on behalf of several environmental groups. EPA originally announced its lead monitoring requirements in October 2008 as part of its revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards ("NAAQS") for lead. The 2008 rule required states to place air monitors near (1) industrial sources which emit one or more tons per year of lead; and (2) urban areas with a population of 500,000 people or more. These areas were selected based on their potential to contribute to a maximum lead concentration in excess of the NAAQS, the potential for population exposure, and logistics. EPA agreed to reconsider both the source-oriented and urban area monitoring requirements and expects to issue a proposal by late summer 2009; with a final rule by spring 2010. EPA, however, will not reconsider the revised lead NAAQS, which were lowered to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter (measured as the concentration of lead in total suspended particles). Additionally, the following implementation schedule of the revised lead NAAQS remains unchanged:
- States must submit recommendations on attainment designations by October 2009.
- EPA will then make final attainment designations by October 2010 (unless additional information is needed).
- States with nonattainment areas for lead must then submit State Implementation Plans within 18 months of designation.
- States with nonattainment areas must attain the NAAQS as expeditiously as practicable, but in no event later than five years from the effective date of the nonattainment designation.