RD451 - Air Quality and Air Pollution Control Policies of the Commonwealth of Virginia – October 2021
1. Executive Summary
This report was prepared by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on behalf of the State Air Pollution Control Board (SAPCB) for the Governor and General Assembly pursuant to § 10.1-1307 H of the Code of Virginia. This report details the status of Virginia's air quality, provides an overview of the air division programs, and briefly summarizes federal and state air quality programs.
1.1. Air Quality in the Commonwealth
Air quality in Virginia continues to improve. Ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone in Virginia met United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in 2019. Ambient concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) near an emissions source located in Kimballton, Virginia, (Giles County) showed violations of the 2010 SO2 NAAQS. DEQ is working with this facility to further reduce their SO2 emissions and develop an attainment plan.
1.2. Air Quality Policies in the Commonwealth
Policy initiatives affecting Virginia in the near future include new federal guidance on Regional Haze analysis requirements, 2015 ozone NAAQS Good Neighbor provisions under the Clean Air Act (CAA), federal actions to reconsider the December 7, 2020, decision retaining without revision the 2006 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, and regulatory changes stemming from the South Coast Air Quality Management District v. EPA decision. Additionally, Virginia participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multistate market-based cap-and-trade program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants from the power sector. The final regulation for this program became effective in June 2020. It is also important to note that during the 2021 Session, the General Assembly adopted and the Governor approved Clean Cars legislation to reduce tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollutants. The law directs DEQ to develop and the State Air Pollution Control Board (Board) to adopt a low-emissions and zero-emissions program for motor vehicles beginning with a model year of 2025 and later. The law also provides that the regulations developed by DEQ and adopted by the Board to implement the program shall not become effective prior to January 1, 2024.
1.3. Summary of Annual Air Division Activities
Table 1-1 provides a summary of air division activities related to permitting, compliance and enforcement under the Clean Air Act.
Table 1-1: Summary of Activity and Milestones for 2020