Environmental Protection

Idaho DEQ Seeks Comments on West Silver Valley Emissions Inventory

The state agency began developing a State Implementation Plan in 2015. But based on certified air quality monitoring for 2014-2016, the area has attained national air quality standards, which qualifies it for a clean data determination, according to DEQ.

The Idaho Department of Environment Quality is asking for public comments by Aug. 11 on a base-year emissions inventory for the West Silver Valley Nonattainment Area. The inventory will be submitted to U.S. EPA for approval; EPA in 2015 designated the West Silver Valley in northern Idaho as a "moderate nonattainment area" for the 2012 annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard because the most recent fine particle air pollution data gathered there had not met the national standard. The nonattainment area includes the areas in and around the Panhandle towns of Pinehurst, Smelterville, Kellogg, and Wardner, an area that was determined to include emission sources (including use of wood stoves for home heating) that contribute to violations of the fine particle standard.

The state was to work with the local communities to develop a plan to reduce emissions in the West Silver Valley, then submit a plan to EPA, and the area was given until December 2021 to demonstrate compliance with the fine particle air quality standard.

In response to the nonattainment designation, DEQ began developing a State Implementation Plan in 2015. "However, based on certified air quality monitoring for 2014-2016, the area has attained national air quality standards, which qualifies it for a clean data determination," the agency reported. "With this determination, most State Implementation Plan requirements are suspended as long as the area continues to attain air quality standards, but a base-year emissions inventory is still required."

A public hearing on the inventory will be held Aug. 11 at 5:30 p.m. PDT at Pinehurst City Hall.

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