FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1998
EPA PROPOSES TO MINIMIZE BURDEN OF OVERLAPPING AIR TOXIC REGULATION ON INDUSTRY, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Under authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA today announced a proposal to revise a 1993 final regulation that allows state, local, and tribal governments to voluntarily replace -- with EPA's approval -- federal toxic air pollution control programs with their own toxic regulations and then administer and enforce the laws themselves. The original rule allows states to preserve existing toxic programs and mesh them with federal requirements, allowing industry to minimize the burden of dual federal and state regulation. These state or local regulations, however, have to be at least as stringent as federal air toxic requirements under the Clean Air Act; EPA also has the authority to take back the program if state and local governments are delinquent in achieving the emissions reductions that would have occurred under the federal standards. Today's proposed revision would give state and local air pollution control agencies additional options for demonstrating equivalency with federal requirements. For instance, EPA would be allowed to approve portions of local programs if they meet certain criteria (currently, EPA must approve the entire program if it is to substitute for federal requirements). The proposed changes would also reduce administrative burdens on industry and government by eliminating overlapping federal and state regulations, saving time and costs involved in permitting and enforcement. The proposal would continue to ensure that toxic emission reductions achieved through the state programs be equivalent to or more stringent than those that would have been required by the federal EPA. After EPA issued its original rule in Nov. 1993, several state and local government officials raised concerns that EPA's criteria needed more streamlining and flexibility to reduce the barriers to substituting state rules. In developing today's proposal, EPA worked in close partnership with State and local agencies to address their concerns. Today's proposal will appear soon in the Federal Register, but can be accessed immediately on the Internet under "Recent Actions" at website: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg. For further technical information, phone Tom Driscoll of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-541-5135.
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