EPA Weighs Options to Speed Air Quality Standard-Setting Process

Options that seek "to ensure that the best and latest available science is used in setting and reviewing air quality standards" were submitted on April 3 by EPA officials.

The recommendations, outlined in a memo to the agency's deputy administrator, would promote the timeliness for setting air quality standards, provide consistency with other agency rulemakings and enable a more thorough review of the latest science on air quality, agency official said. In developing its recommendations, EPA officials considered input from members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), environment and industry stakeholders and EPA staff. The agency will continue to work with CASAC and interested stakeholders as the review process moves forward.

The intra-agency workgroup focused on the basic functional elements of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) process and on the nature of and linkages between the contents of documents that are currently prepared as part of the NAAQS review. These key functional elements include planning, science assessment, risk/exposure assessment, policy assessment, and rulemaking. Overlaid on these functional elements throughout the process are the involvement of CASAC in providing review and advice on the air quality criteria and the standards and numerous opportunities for public participation.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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