Based on a letter received from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) dated February 25, 2014, the air quality in the Antelope Valley has met the federal one-hour national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone. ARB has requested that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) make the “attainment” designation for the Antelope Valley area. Previously, this area had been considered in “non-attainment” of the one-hour ozone NAAQS. Volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxides are consider precursors to ozone.
This designation is significant as it affects air pollution permitting requirements as stated in the Clean Air Act. All new or modified stationary sources of air pollution must obtain a permit under the New Source Review (NSR) program. Since volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxides are considered precursors to ozone, NSR requirements for these criteria pollutants may also be changed. Criteria pollutants that are considered non-attainment are required to follow non-attainment NSR, or Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District’s (AVAQMD) Regulation XIII NSR program. If the designation of certain pollutants are reclassified as attainment, stationary sources that emit pollutants (attained) may need to review and determine applicability with the USEPA’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. Once the USEPA has made the final determination that the Antelope Valley is in attainment of the one-hour ozone NAAQS, new or modified stationary sources of ozone may need to comply with new PSD permitting requirements. Currently, AVAQMD has a PSD Program under Regulation XVII; however, USEPA has not delegated authority of the PSD program to AVAQMD. It is important to note that AVAQMD’s NSR rule is still in effect until the district decides to amend the current rule.
For additional information, please refer to the AVAQMD Ozone Attainment Press Release and AVAQMD's PSD Rule. Contact our office at (949) 567-9880 to discuss further permitting implications of this upcoming new attainment determination.