EPA’s New Ozone Rule: Part 19

Next, we discuss the implementation of EPA’s standards. How are they implemented now, and if EPA had instituted tougher standards, what exactly would change?

The EPA does not usually enforce standards directly. Rather, individual states draw up State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to comply with EPA’s standards, and EPA approves them. Only when a state refuses to submit a SIP will the EPA step in and impose a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP)1. My impression is that imposition of FIPs are relatively rare and that almost all states eventually comply, although tardily at times. I did find discussions of FIPs to be imposed on Hawaii2, the Navajo Nation in Arizona3, and the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota4.

Nevetheless, many states do tend to be late with their SIPs. On January 4, 2013, the EPA announced that 25 states and two territories had failed to submit to their SIPs to the EPA: Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington State, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Three other states, Arizona, Illinois, and New Mexico, have submitted incomplete SIPs5. I had heard that as a rule, state governments resent the intrusion of the Federal government, so I’m not surprised.

To access an individual state’s SIP, you can go to that state’s environmental agency website and search for it there. You can also go to the EPA website, click on the state on the map featured prominently on the home page, and search for the SIP there. Note: Not all state sites will have the SIP, and if they do have it, it may be a summary rather than the actual text (an example of this is the SIP for New York State6). Finally, you can go to the State Implementation Plan page for Region 2, which you can view by clicking here. (I think there was some sort of mix-up on the webmaster’s part, because this page should be the website for all SIPs.)

In fact, this is how the page describes SIPs:

A State Implementation Plan (SIP) is the federally approved and enforceable plan by which each state identifies how it will attain and/or maintain the health-related primary and welfare-related secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) described in Section 109 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and 40 Code of Federal Regulations 50.4 through 50.12. It may be helpful to view a SIP as a state’s blueprint for clean air. The process of developing a SIP starts when the state develops a draft SIP that contains control measures and strategies, proposes it in a public process, formally adopts it, and submits it to EPA by the Governor’s designee. EPA must take formal rulemaking action to approve or disapprove a SIP, and once approved by EPA a SIP is included in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 40, Part 52) and becomes federally enforceable. From time to time a state may choose to revise its SIP or EPA may require a state to revise its SIP. EPA is required to take rulemaking action on SIP revisions as well as SIPs…

SIP documents contain a wide variety of information including air quality goals, measurements of air quality, emission inventories, modeling demonstrations, control strategies, evidence of public participation, and more. While EPA is working toward making SIP documents fully accessible electronically, our initial effort is focused on ensuring EPA-approved SIP regulations are available for each state, commonwealth or territory. Fully electronically accessible SIPs will become a reality for future SIP actions as EPA fully automates the rulemaking process through EDocket in the coming months. In the meantime, EPA will continue to present currently approved state regulations and add information to the site periodically.

On this page you will see a map of the United States; click on one of 10 regions on a map. Each region leads to a different web page, which lists links to individual state pages. Each state page is different and will present information and links in different ways.

For example, click on Region 5 (Great Lakes states). You’ll see the Region 5 Air and Radiation page. Click on “View All SIPS by state”. Now click on the arrow by Minnesota. This is the list of SIP topics that appears:

Approved State Implementation Plan Provisions, 1 record
Chapter 7005 – Definitions And Abbreviations — 2 records
Chapter 7007 – Permits And Offsets — 42 records
Chapter 7009 – Ambient Air Quality Standards — 18 records
Chapter 7011 – Standards For Stationary Sources — 11 records
Chapter 7011 – Standards For Stationary Sources — 86 records
Chapter 7017 – Monitoring And Testing Requirements — 41 records
Chapter 7019 – Emission Inventory Requirements — 11 records
Emission Standards For Inorganic Fibrous Materials — 4 records
Facility-Specific Restrictions — 31 records
Incinerators — 20 records
Liquid Petroleum And Volatile Organic Liquid Storage Vessels — 21 records
Monitoring, Testing, And Reporting Requirements — 8 records
Motor Vehicles — 7 records
Nitric Acid Plants — 2 records
Notification And Emission Inventory Requirements — 11 records
Open Burning Statutes — 7 records
Oxygenated Gasoline Statutes — 13 records
Petroleum Refineries — 32 records
Sewage Sludge Incinerators — 11 records
Sulfuric Acid Plants — 14 records
Summary Of Criteria Pollutant Maintenance Plan, 1 record

As you can see, SIPs can be very involved. Now click on the arrow next to “Approved State Implementation Plan Provisions”, then the arrow underneath it next to “Federal Approved State SIP”, then the arrow underneath it next to “(Not Categorized)”, then click underneath it on “SIP Notebook”. You’ll land on EPA’s State Implementations Plan web page for Minnesota. On the bottom, you will see two Adobe icons: they will lead you to the Federal Register where Minnesota’s SIP is published (I believe the left icon leads to the SIP published in February 2005, the right icon leads to revisions made in August 2005).

Seeing how complex government regulations can be, I feel a certain amount of sympathy for those business people who rail against government regulations. Certainly, regulations should never be more complicated or onerous than they absolutely need to be. Yet we depend on these regulations to keep our water safe to drink and our air safe to breathe.

A crucial question is how would the SIPs change if the primary ozone standard was lowered to 70 ppb and if a secondary standard of 13 ppm-hour was introduced? How would the SIPs change to meet the new standards, and how much more would industry need to do to meet the SIPs? Those are complex questions to which I have found no answers, at least not yet.


  1. EPA website, Ozone Implementation – Programs and Requirements for Reducing Ground Level Ozone. To view, click here.
  2. EPA website, Air Actions, Hawaii. To view, click here.
  3. EPA website, Air Actions, Navajo Nation. To view, click here.
  4. EPA website,Federal Implementation Plan for Oil and National Gas Production Facility on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. To view, click here.
  5. EPA Factsheet (PDF format), Final Notice: Findings of Failure to Submit a Complete State Implementation Plan for Section 110(a) Pertaining to the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. To view, click here.
  6. EPA website, New York State Implementation Plan (SIP) Summaries. To view, click here.

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