Redesignation of the Atlanta Nonattainment Area to Attainment for NAAQS
Posted: February 2nd, 2023Authors: Lillia B.
On August 3, 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) classified Atlanta as a marginal nonattainment area according to the 2015 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). Nonattainment areas are designated when measured concentrations of a particular pollutant are more than the established NAAQS and thus deemed unsafe for public health and the environment. The Atlanta nonattainment area was officially redesignated to attainment status on October 17, 2022. Impacted counties include Bartow, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Henry. Along with the redesignation to attainment status, the EPA has also approved Georgia’s NAAQS maintenance plan to keep the area in attainment for the next 10 years, which includes applicable motor vehicle emission budgets (MVEBs) for NOX and VOC and incorporation of the maintenance plan into the State Implementation Plan (SIP). With this action, the state of Georgia is now classified as in attainment or unclassifiable for all NAAQS.
What does this mean for facilities in Atlanta? As part of bringing the area into attainment, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) promulgated numerous regulations aimed at reducing NOX emissions. These regulations are permanent and will continue to remain in effect. However, from a construction permitting standpoint, facilities in the Atlanta area are no longer subject to the non-attainment new source review (NNSR) provisions contained in G.A.C. Rule 391-3-1-.03(8)(c) which include requirements such as lowest achievable emission rate (LAER) and emissions off-sets. Instead, standard new source review (NSR) rules would apply. For more details on the potential impact on your facility, please reach out to ALL4’s Atlanta office directly.