What's New at ADEQ?
EPA Proposed Approval of the State Haze Plan
The Region 6 Office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed approval of key portions of the State’s Regional Haze plan. The plan, which includes agreements to limit sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions, was signed by Arkansas’s key utility partners: Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Southwestern Electric Power Company, and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Corporation. In conjunction with EPA’s proposed approval of portions of the Regional Haze SIP, EPA is also withdrawing the corresponding federal haze plan provisions. The approval is a key step in resolving the issues surrounding Arkansas’s challenge to EPA’s 2016 federal haze plan. A copy of the new release is available here.
Bella Vista Site Update
For more information regarding the Bella Vista site for debris on Trafalgar Road, visit the City of Bella Vista’s website. ADEQ has been engaged with the property owner and residents in the adjacent neighborhoods since first becoming aware of the issues at the Trafalgar Rd. property in Bella Vista. Our visits to the property have been ongoing in order to assess a proper course of action to protect public health and the environment. Shortly after our initial inspection, we sent a letter to the property owner directing him to suspend activity at the site, particularly in regard to accepting additional waste. Since our initial inspection, we have coordinated with the Arkansas Department of Health and Region 6 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding air quality monitoring at the site. Monitoring exercises were conducted on October 2–3 and November 9–10. During those exercises, air samples were collected and tested for constituents of concern.
The draft preliminary results of EPA’s testing have been released. A copy of EPA’s draft preliminary results and analysis may be found here. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has released a statement on the preliminary findings that may be found here. We are currently coordinating with EPA regarding additional air-quality assessments. In the interim, we are continuing our dialogue with concerned citizens and supporting local community efforts as requested. For questions concerning the results of the air testing, please contact ADH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Director has issued a final permitting decision for Permit No. 5264-W. Effective November 19, 2018, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has denied the application for a permit under Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) Regulation 5 for Permit Number 5264-W and AFIN 51-00164. The Director’s decision was made upon consideration of the completed application, the public comments on the record, and other materials provided by law or regulation applicable to the application. A Statement of Basis for the decision and ADEQ’s Response to Comments are available on ADEQ’s website at: https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/home/pdssql/p-response-20181116.aspx.
Arkansas and Oklahoma state agencies announced the completion of a Memorandum of Agreement committing the states to future collaboration in addressing water quality concerns related to the Illinois River. The agreement—signed by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC), the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment, and the Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture—charts a path forward on science-based regulatory actions and permitting, and that jointly commits the parties to collaborative efforts in developing a watershed improvement plan. The parties also commit to coordinate in making data and other information about water quality improvements more readily available. A copy of the news release is available here.
On October 31, 2018, ADEQ submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency on their proposed “Emissions Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Electric Utility Generating Units; Revisions to Emission Guidelines Implementing Regulations; Revisions to New Source Review Program” rule, otherwise referred to as the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE). ADEQ’s comments are generally supportive of the strides that EPA has made in its relationship with the states and EPA’s reasoned and restrained interpretation of the Best System of Emissions Reductions. ADEQ’s comments recommend certain changes to provide greater flexibility to the states in implementing plans pursuant to ACE.
ADEQ’s annual environmental awards recognize businesses and organizations in Arkansas for their efforts to protect and enhance the state’s environment through three prestigious awards: the Arkansas Environmental Stewardship (ENVY) Award, the Arkansas Environmental Technology (TECHe) Award, and the E² Energy Award. Businesses, nonprofits, and government entities are encouraged to apply. Application forms and more information about the awards are available at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/poa/enterprise-services/awards/.
2018 Ozone Season Summary
The ozone season in Arkansas is May 1 through September 30, which is the time of the year that Arkansas and many areas around the country typically experience the highest ozone concentrations because ground-level ozone formation is more likely during the warmer and stagnant wind meteorological conditions associated with summer. While ADEQ did record two orange days in Arkansas this year during which those ozone concentrations may have affected sensitive members of the population, Arkansas did not see any concentrations in the unhealthy or very unhealthy ranges that could affect the larger population. Arkansas remains in Attainment throughout the state for ozone and all other National Ambient Air Quality Standards. For more information about ground-level ozone, visit this ADEQ webpage. You can also see ADEQ’s end of the 2018 ozone season report here.
The Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee (BBRAC) is an Arkansas-led collaborative established by Governor Asa Hutchinson to protect and enhance the Buffalo River Watershed through partnership, research, and action.
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