|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Senator Ayer of Addison District, Senator Condos of Chittenden District, Senator Giard of Addison District and Senator Lyons of Chittenden District
Subject: Conservation and development; air pollution control; fine particulate matter
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to authorize the secretary of natural resources to establish fine particulate matter ambient air quality standards based on the recommendations of the federal Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.
AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING FINE PARTICULATE MATTER AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARDS WITH AN ADEQUATE MARGIN OF SAFETY FOR PUBLIC HEALTH
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The general assembly finds:
(1) Under the federal Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for each air pollutant that causes or contributes to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.
(2) The primary NAAQS must be set at a level that is requisite to protect the public health “allowing an adequate margin of safety.” The secondary NAAQS must be set at a level that is requisite to protect the public welfare “from any known or anticipated adverse effects associated with the presence of such air pollutant in the ambient air.”
(3) The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the NAAQS every five years and “promulgate such new standards as may be appropriate.”
(4) The Clean Air Act also provides that an independent scientific review committee, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), shall “recommend to the Administrator any new national ambient air quality standards and revisions of existing criteria and standards as may be appropriate.”
(5) For the first time since CASAC was established in 1977, EPA disregarded CASAC’s scientific advice when EPA issued a final rule on September 21, 2006 that revised the NAAQS for fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5).
(6) In a letter dated June 6, 2005, CASAC recommended a decrease in the annual primary PM2.5 standard from 15 µg/m3 to 13–14 µg/m3 because there is clear and convincing scientific evidence that significant adverse human health effects occur in the level of the current annual PM2.5 standard. CASAC affirmed this recommendation in another letter dated March 21, 2006. EPA’s September 2006 rule retained the annual PM2.5 standard of 15 µg/m3.
(7) EPA’s September 2006 rule also lowered the 24-hour PM2.5 standard, but only to the highest end of the 30 to 35 µg/m3 range recommended by CASAC. In addition, EPA failed to follow CASAC’s advice in setting a separate secondary PM2.5 standard in the range of 20 to 30 µg/m3 as an eight-hour daylight average.
(8) In a letter dated September 29, 2006, CASAC wrote, “It is the CASAC’s consensus scientific opinion that the decision to retain without change the annual PM2.5 standard does not provide an ‘adequate margin of safety … requisite to protect the public health’ (as required by the Clean Air Act), leaving parts of the population of this country at significant risk of adverse health effects from exposure to fine PM.” CASAC also questioned whether EPA gave full consideration of CASAC’s other expert scientific advice in EPA’s final decisions on the NAAQS for particulate matter as set forth in the September 2006 rule.
(9) Therefore, the general assembly should ensure that the state has fine particulate matter ambient air quality standards that provide an adequate margin of safety requisite to protect the public health and welfare of its citizens.
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 554 is amended to read:
§ 554. POWERS
In addition to any other powers conferred on him or her by law, the secretary shall have power to:
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(17) Establish by rule fine particulate matter ambient air quality standards based on the recommendations of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, for the state as a whole or for any part thereof to ensure that the standards provide an adequate margin of safety requisite to protect the public health and welfare of the citizens of Vermont.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street