The Role of Federal and State Local Governments

Although the Act is a federal law, it is designed to be primarily implemented by state environmental regulators through SIPs, with the approval and oversight of the U.S. EPA. For many parts of the Act, particularly those involving NAAQS plans and permitting, the U.S. EPA provides regulatory and technical guidance to states as they adopt air pollution control rules. The EPA then approves and oversees the implementation of those rules by the state.

U.S. EPA Organization and Role

The U.S. EPA is divided into several groups, each with its own role in accomplishing the requirements of the Act. In general, EPA headquarters in Washington, DC, addresses broad policy development; it sets basic air pollution control goals and policy objectives. The staffs responsible for acid rain and ozone depletion are located in the Washington office.

The U.S. EPA has two other program offices, located in Ann Arbor, MI, and Durham, NC. The Durham office, often referred to as Research Triangle Park or RTP, issues specific guidance memos and regulations for air quality attainment and toxics programs, except those addressing mobile sources. RTP also creates and manages relevant air emissions control information, such as databases containing permitted information for facilities throughout the country. The U.S. EPA-Ann Arbor focuses on mobile source issues.

EPA Regional Offices

There are 10 regional offices, each located within the geographical region that it manages (see Table 15-5). These offices are largely responsible for the day-to-day interaction with state and local agency officials. Each has the same basic responsibility to work with states in implementing the Act, but specific policies and level of involvement in a state's regulatory efforts vary from region to region. The EPA regional offices conduct detailed reviews of many state and local air regulatory decisions, such as permitting decisions for large sources, and they also assess the adequacy of rules adopted by the state to implement the CAAA.

State and Local Agency Roles

For the most part, states are required to meet or exceed federal environmental regulations. Each state has its own environmental agency that develops and implements pollution control requirements for that state through the development of a SIP.

SIPs contain all of the rules adopted by state and local agencies to implement the CAAA. To the extent that rules go beyond the requirements of the CAAA in terms of both stringency and scope, these rules must also be included in the SIP. After state rules required by the Act are adopted, the state or local agency implements and enforces all rules, though the U.S. EPA approves and oversees the implementation of those rules. In most cases, the state staff is the primary contact for permit negotiations and all compliance issues.

In some states, there are also local agencies or regional offices that have varying degrees of authority in implementing air pollution rules. For example, California has divided its state into several districts, each with its own air quality management department that develops and enforces rules for its area. Some states have also established local agencies for large cities. The local agency, however, must still report to the state agency.

Multi-State Associations

Air pollution tends to be an airshed problem that knows no legal or geographic boundaries and, as such, is often a multi-state or regional problem. In order to address these concerns, multi-state or regional associations of state agencies have also been established to develop common and consistent strategies for air pollution control within a relevant geographic region. The Northeast Ozone Transport Region is an example of such an organization. Pollution problems affecting the Grand Canyon are handled by the Grand Canyon Western Visibility Transport Commission (GCWVTC).

In addition to the multi-state associations prescribed in the CAAA, other multi-state associations have formed. For example, the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (STAPPA/ALAPCO) is the national association of state and local air quality control officials in the states and territories and over 165 metropolitan areas throughout the United States. It provides assistance and leadership for state efforts on certain regulatory requirements. Another example is the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), a group composed of agency air officials

Table 15-5 U.S. EPA Regional Offices Regional Office and Location States Within Region

EPA Region I Lexington, MA

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

EPA Region II New York, NY

New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

EPA Region III Philadelphia, PA

Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, W. Virginia, Virginia

EPA Region IV Atlanta, GA

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Tennessee

EPA Region V Chicago, IL

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin

EPA Region VI Dallas, TX

Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

EPA Region VII Kansas City, KS

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska

EPA Region VIII Denver, CO

Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming

EPA Region IX San Francisco, CA

Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam, American Samoa

EPA Region X Seattle, WA

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska

from eight northeastern states in the OTR. These multistate groups work to develop commonly needed technical information, such as airshed modeling or risk assessment, to develop regulatory approaches.

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