2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

On February 7, 2024, EPA announced issuance of a final rule lowering the annual health-based national ambient air quality standard for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from 12 to 9 micrograms per cubic meter.

In 2021, the Biden administration started a process to reconsider a Trump administration decision to retain the 2012 standards. As a result of that process, EPA is lowering the annual standard for fine particles; EPA is not changing 1) the 24-hour health-based fine particle standard, 2) the health-based standards for coarse particles, nor 3) the welfare-based standards for fine or coarse particles.

Identification of Nonattainment Counties
In information accompanying the announcement, EPA identified counties that will not meet the new standard. The expected nonattainment counties in Texas include Harris (Houston), Tarrant (Fort Worth), Travis (Austin), Dallas, El Paso, and several other counties along or near the Rio Grande. Many metropolitan areas outside of Texas are identified, including Albuquerque, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburg, and Tulsa. Large areas of the West Coast states, including most of California, will be nonattainment.

Permitting Considerations
In other accompanying information, EPA said it must make formal designations of attainment or nonattainment in two years. Final State Implementation Plans (SIPs) implementing the new rule are due in three years. SIPs for nonattainment areas are due 18 months after designation. Prevention of Significant Deterioration for new or pending permit applications in attainment areas applies immediately.

To see EPA’s announcement, which includes a link to obtain the accompanying information https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-finalizes-stronger-standards-harmful-soot-pollution-significantly-increasing