FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 20, 2013
DEP'S PLAN TO RESTORE VISIBILITY IN NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDERNESS AREAS APPROVED BY EPA
~State-federal collaboration brings certainty to
Florida’s air pollution reduction plan ~
TALLAHASSEE –The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency has issued a full approval of Florida’s 2012 regional
haze plan, a part of the state’s long-term strategy to reduce pollution and
restore visibility in national parks and wilderness areas.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's plan targets visibility-impairing
pollutants — predominantly sulfur dioxide — for reduction. Florida
is the only state that determined the appropriate reductions on a source-by-source basis, which resulted in a pollution reduction plan tailored to the
state’s needs. EPA’s approval of the plan makes it the first of its
“This success is due to diligent efforts by
state and federal air pollution experts to evaluate emission impacts from
dozens of sources,” said Brian Accardo, Director of the Division of Air
Resource Management. “When state and federal partners collaborate this
effectively, the result is a technically and legally sound solution that has
the buy-in of affected facilities."
The goal of the Clean Air Act’s regional haze program is to reduce
pollution so that visibility, or “visual range,” in the nation’s parks and
wilderness improves. Haze, described as a veil of white or brown hanging
in the air, can be caused by a variety of natural and human-made sources,
including wildfires, motor vehicles and industrial facilities. It can
also be caused by sources many miles away, which is why the program has a
regional focus. One of Florida’s national parks to benefit from the
state’s regional haze plan is Everglades National Park, which received over 1.1
million visitors last year.
Florida had originally sought EPA’s approval
of a regional haze plan in 2010. That
plan, like many other state regional haze plans, relied in part on emission
reductions associated with a federal cap and trade program designed to address
interstate air pollution. The EPA’s
“Clean Air Interstate Rule” and its replacement “Cross-State Air Pollution
Rule” have both since been invalidated in federal court, leaving states
struggling to fully implement their regional haze plans.
Florida, however, decided last year to forgo
reliance upon federal rules to address regional haze in order to bring certainty
to its pollution reduction plan. This resulted in a one-of-a-kind strategy with
source-specific requirements that are not affected by litigation over federal
rules. Under Florida’s approved plan,
emissions reductions from two units alone will eliminate around 20,000 tons per
year of sulfur dioxide -- a quarter of statewide power plant emissions in 2012 --
and 5,000 tons per year of nitrogen oxides.
reported by the Department, in 2012, air emissions from
Florida’s industrial facilities hit their lowest point since the Department
began tracking them in 1985. Florida’s regional haze plan will assist the
state on its path of continued emissions reductions.