EPA to Complete Review of Air Quality Standards for Six Criteria Pollutants by 2011

December 8, 2009
by KATE VACCARO
Client Alert Newsletter December 2009

Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") is required to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards ("NAAQS") for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards set NAAQS for six principal pollutants. These pollutants, which are known as "criteria pollutants, " are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter ("PM") (both PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, and sulfur dioxide. In October 2009, EPA announced that it will complete a review of the NAAQS for all six criteria pollutants by the end of 2011. In doing so, EPA intends to focus on coordinating its review of the six pollutants, rather than evaluating each pollutant independently.

EPA already finalized a new NAAQS for lead in 2008 and is currently reevaluating the NAAQS for ozone and PM. In particular, EPA recently announced plans to promulgate revised standards for ozone and PM by August 2010 and April 2011, respectively. EPA has also commenced the process of reviewing the standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide