Yesterday, the Alliance submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding a proposed nonattainment designation for Waukesha County. The proposal would designate Waukesha County as a community that does not meet federal air quality standards.
In December, the EPA notified Wisconsin that it intends to place all of Waukesha, Racine, Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Washington counties into nonattainment along with parts of Kenosha, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Door counties. A nonattainment designation brings an additional regulatory burden for air permitting, including the need for offset requirements, which essentially prohibit a nonattainment area from growing any emissions from large sources, such as manufacturers. The “nonattainment” classification is in accordance with the EPA’s 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone. Those standards changed the definition of “clean air” from 75 parts-per-billion (ppb) of Ozone down to 70 ppb.
While Waukesha County’s ozone levels DO fall within the current clean air levels (67 ppb), EPA has proposed classifying Waukesha County as nonattainment–not because of the air quality in Waukesha County, but because it is in the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha statistical area which has violating monitors in both Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties.
The EPA plans to make a final decision this spring. Please contact Amanda Payne for more information.
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