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SIP Revision: Regional Haze

The regional-haze revision to the State Implementation Plan for air quality is the plan Texas must submit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to show how the state will reduce regional haze in the air to natural background conditions.

2017 Amendments to the Regional Haze Rule

On January 10, 2017, the EPA published the final Amendments to the Regional Haze Rule (82 FR 3078 ) to update aspects of the reasonably available visibility impairment (RAVI) and regional haze programs including:

  • strengthening the federal land manager consultation requirements;

  • extending the RAVI requirements so that all states must address situations where a single source or small number of sources is affecting visibility at a Federal Class I area;

  • extending the SIP submittal deadline for the second planning period from July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2021 to allow states to consider planning for other federal programs like the 2010 one-hour SO2 NAAQS, and the 2012 annual PM2.5 NAAQS;

  • adjusting interim progress report submission deadline so that second progress reports would be due by January 31, 2025; and

  • removing the requirement for progress reports to be SIP revisions so the EPA would not formally approve or disapprove them.

The EPA’s draft guidance Exit the TCEQ on the rule was released on June, 30 2016.

2014 Five-Year Regional Haze SIP Revision

At the February 26, 2014 agenda, the commission adopted the 2014 Five-Year Regional Haze SIP Revision. This SIP revision evaluated Texas’ progress towards the “reasonable progress” goal for each Federal Class I area in the state, and each Federal Class I area outside the state that may be affected by emissions from Texas. The TCEQ projects that Texas will meet the established “reasonable progress” goals set by the state for 2018 for all Class I areas it affects.

This five-year progress report does not require modeling and uses the analysis in the 2011 Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) report to show whether the Class I areas of concern are on the glide path. The EPA guidance for the five-year progress report was released on April 12, 2013. No rulemaking was proposed with this SIP revision, which is project number 2013-013-SIP-NR.

Schedule

Key dates for 2014 Five-Year Progress Report SIP revision—

  • Adopted: February 26, 2014
  • Due to EPA: March 2014
  • Federal Land Managers and EPA comment period: June 19 through August 20, 2013
  • Public comment period: August 21 through October 1, 2013
  • Public Hearing: September 24, 2013

Key dates in past and future SIP revisions:

  • TCEQ adoption date for initial SIP: February 25, 2009
  • EPA's evaluation of 2009 SIP revision: resulted in two federal implementation plans (FIP)
    1) the 2016 final reasonable progress FIP and
    2) the 2017 proposed BART FIP (see descriptions and links below)
  • New Amendments to the Regional Haze Rule: January 10, 2017 (82 FR 3078)
  • Next revision due: July 31, 2021 (extended from 2018 to 2021 per the new amendments)
  • Review every five years: through 2064 or until natural conditions are met

EPA's 2016 and 2017 Federal Implementation Plans (FIP)

On January 5, 2016, the EPA finalized a partial disapproval of the Texas 2009 RH SIP revision and issued a reasonable progress FIP (81 FR 296 – effective February 4, 2016). The FIP included requirements for control upgrades or new emissions limits at eight coal-fired power plants in Texas. The FIP stated that seven power plants install additional emissions controls on specific units within three or five years of the effective date of the rule. This FIP was stayed, then sent back to EPA for changes. The EPA also approved the Texas Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) rule with regard to non-electric generating units (EGU); however, the EPA did not take action on BART for EGUs due to continuing issues with the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

On January 4, 2017, the EPA proposed a BART FIP (82 FR 912 ), which proposes SO2 and PM limits on 14 EGUs with compliance dates ranging from one to five years. Facilities include: coal-fired units at Big Brown, Martin Lake, Monticello, Coleto Creek, Fayette, Harrington, Deely, Parish, and Welsh; and gas-fired units at Newman, Wilkes, Parish 4, Graham, Sommers, and Stryker Creek. The EPA also proposes to reconsider and re-propose disapproval of SIPs addressing interstate visibility transport for six NAAQS. Staff prepared comments. The EPA held a hearing in Austin on January 10, 2017. The EPA approved extending the comment period for this proposal for 60 days - until May 5, 2017.

2009 Regional Haze SIP

On February 25, 2009, the commission adopted revisions to the Texas SIP for visibility protection at Federal Class I areas. No rulemaking occurred with this SIP. The revision was project No. 2007-016-SIP-NR.

The regional-haze SIP revision is the plan Texas must submit to the EPA to show how Texas will reduce regional haze to natural conditions. This SIP revision includes all existing control strategies for the Dallas and Houston areas, other statewide and federal controls, and BART.

The long-term goal is to restore air quality to natural conditions—defined by the EPA as the visibility conditions that would be experienced in the absence of pollution from human activities. The goal set by Congress is for all Federal Class I areas to meet natural conditions by 2064. The “glide path” is the path to the 2064 goal. Currently, the baseline haze level at Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks is approximately 16 deciviews.

Chart showing Natural conditions in 60 years.

 

Solid red line represents glide path.
Source: Adapted from EPA-454/B-03-005, Guidance for Estimating Natural Visibility Conditions Under the Regional Haze Program.

The BART Rule was adopted by the TCEQ in January 2007 to allow the state to require BART modeling from specific industries or sources. A number of sources that appeared to be BART-eligible applied for and obtained legally enforceable reductions in their allowable emissions. Some of the reductions were from shutdowns; others resulted from reducing permitted emissions rates on units that had larger allowables than they needed to operate. After final modeling incorporated these reductions in allowable emissions, Texas was left with no BART-eligible sources. An updated list of potentially BART-eligible sources is in SIP Appendix 9-13. For more information on BART, see the related web page Regional Haze: Rulemaking (BART and CAIR).

Texas used the Central Regional Air Planning Association’s template for the regional haze SIP revision. The CENRAP states worked together with the EPA and federal land managers to develop a format that stakeholders found acceptable. Each state adapted the template as needed.

Technical Issues

Consultation with Other States
The TCEQ provided a summary paper to participants in the regional-haze consultation calls on July 11, 18, and 31, 2007. The TCEQ held these calls with other states, federal land managers, and the EPA and offered the opportunity for other interested parties to listen to the calls.

Texas’ Regional Haze Summary of Major Issues is the summary the TCEQ provided to the participants in the consultation conference calls. The summaries of the three consultation conference calls appear below:

The TCEQ continues to consult with other states. Regional haze SIP revisions are required every 10 years. Every five years, the TCEQ is required to assess the state's progress towards natural conditions.

The TCEQ developed four issue papers regarding its analyses of some of the technical issues in developing the 2009 regional-haze SIP revision and supplied those papers to the participants in the consultation calls.

Technical Papers

  • Uniform Rates of Progress and Projected 2018 Reasonable Progress Goals. The first issue concerned the uniform rate of progress to reduce haze by 2018. The TCEQ's preliminary analyses indicate that, without international emissions, Texas' Class I areas would be close to achieving the uniform rate of progress for 2018.
  • Dust Storms and Regional Haze. The second issue concerned natural events that contribute to regional haze. Texas cannot control these natural events, and consequently these events are considered part of the natural conditions in developing a regional haze SIP.
  • Estimating Natural Conditions Based on Revised IMPROVE Algorithm. The third issue concerned natural conditions, or conditions that would be present without pollution from human activities. The IMPROVE algorithm was revised in 2005. The Texas 2009 regional haze SIP revision used the revised IMPROVE equation for all baseline, control-strategy, and natural-condition calculations.
  • Integrated Planning Model Projections of Electric Generating Unit Emissions for the Regional Haze SIP Revision The fourth issue concerned the use of the EPAs Integrated Planning Model, Version 2.19, versus Version 3.0. Based on its analyses, the TCEQ concluded that photochemical modeling using inputs for electric generating units from the earlier version of the IPM was a viable option for this SIP planning period.

Comments

Federal Land Managers’ Comments

As required by the Regional Haze Rule, 40 CFR 51.308, the TCEQ made the federal land managers' comments available before the public hearing. The following comments were received:

Other Comments

The following comments are in no particular order.

Topics Under this Category

Overview-Regional Haze
Overview of haze-forming pollution and the EPA's Regional Haze rule to reduce haze in national parks and wilderness areas.
Regional Haze SIP Appendices, February 25, 2009
A list of the appendices for this revision to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for air quality.
Regional Haze: CENRAP/CENSARA
Texas belongs to the Central Regional Air Planning Association and Central States Air Resource Agencies—eight states that work together reducing regional haze.
Regional Haze: Resources
EPA documents, links, and contact information related to regional haze, BART, and CSAPR/CAIR.
Regional Haze: Rulemaking (BART and CSAPR/CAIR)
Rulemaking related to Best Available Retrofit Technology and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule/Clean Air Interstate Rule to reduce regional haze.