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EPA finalizes revisions to Arkansas’ clean-air plan for regional haze and visibility transport


DALLAS – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing final approval of revisions to the state of Arkansas’ clean-air plan for regional haze and withdrawing the Federal plan. The state’s regional haze plan addresses emissions that impact visibility at mandatory Class I Federal areas such as national parks and wilderness areas in Ark. and adjacent states. Concurrently, EPA is also finalizing approval of Arkansas’ interstate visibility transport provisions.
“This action returns the authority to implement these clean air provisions to Arkansas, and it reflects the importance of working collaboratively with states to achieve the environmental progress EPA works towards every day,” said Acting EPA Regional David Gray.
“Arkansans are truly committed to clean air, and improvements in visibility are important to our scenic vistas. The state has worked diligently to submit an approvable plan with appropriate and protective actions to satisfy these objectives. We appreciate the action taken by EPA to reach this final step in removal of the federal plan,” said Becky W. Keogh, Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality Director.
In Aug. 2019, Ark. submitted final revisions to address Clean Air Act and Regional Haze Rule for an alternative measure to best available retrofit technology (BART) at the Domtar Ashdown Mill for sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide; and elements of the SIP submittal that relate to these BART requirements at this facility.
In Oct. 2019, the state submitted a separate SIP submittal that addresses interstate visibility transport which covers certain national ambient air quality standards. The action ensures that emissions from Ark. sources are not interfering with measures required to be included in another air agencies’ plans to protect visibility.

About Regional Haze

Haze forms when sunlight hits tiny particles of air pollution (both naturally occurring and man-made). The particles absorb some light while other light is scattered before it becomes visible. The greater number of pollutant particles, the more light is absorbed and scattered. The haze reduces clarity and color of what we can see. In addition, pollution that leads to haze can harm people’s health and the environment. Exposure to these small particles in the air has been linked to increased respiratory illness, decreased lung function, and even premature death.
The Clean Air Act establishes as a national goal the prevention of any future, and the remedying of any existing, man-made impairment of visibility in 156 national parks and wilderness areas designated as mandatory Class I Federal areas. The Regional Haze rule requires states to make progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions in some of the nation’s most treasured areas. In Ark., this includes the Caney Creek and Upper Buffalo Class I areas.

About Visibility Transport

Visibility transport deals with air pollution that interferes with measures that protect against visibility impairment in another state. A fully approved regional haze plan ensures that emissions from Ark. sources do not interfere with measures required to be included in another air agencies’ plans to protect visibility.