On February 22, 2011 U.S. EPA approved IEPA's request for a NOx waiver of the 1997 8-hour ozone standard for the Illinois ozone nonattainment areas. This approved waiver satisfied the Clean Air Act requirement for implementing NOx RACT for the Illinois ozone nonattainment areas for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard.
Although the NOx RACT waiver was issued by U.S. EPA, IEPA has noted that these reductions will likely be relied on for future compliance efforts including the impending ozone standard. U.S. EPA intends to finalize a more stringent 8-hour ozone standard by July 29, 2011, which would require new nonattainment areas to be designated in 2012 and NOx RACT requirements to be in place at the beginning of the 2015 ozone season. On April 4, 2011 IEPA submitted proposed changes to the NOx RACT requirements at 35 IAC Part 217 to extend the compliance date from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2015.
The Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group (IERG) submitted a request on April 22, 2011 for an emergency rulemaking to adopt the rule proposed by IEPA that would extend the compliance date to January 2015. On May 19, 2011 the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) denied the request by IERG citing insufficient data to support the determination that an emergency existed. IPCB hearings on this proposed rulemaking are scheduled for June 2, 2011 in Chicago and June 28, 2011 in Edwardsville. The rule is expected to be finalized this summer or early fall. More information regarding this rulemaking can be found here.