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Midwest Regional Planning Organization Resolution of the State Commissioners
THIS MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") is made and entered into between the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium ("LADCO"), an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, acting on behalf of its members, the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ("Ohio EPA"), acting on behalf of the State of Ohio ("Ohio").
The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") has promulgated regional haze regulations that, among other things, require all states to develop regional haze rules to establish goals and emission reduction strategies for improving visibility due to regional haze in the 156 national park and wilderness areas throughout the United States designated by U.S. EPA as mandatory Federal Class I areas. U.S. EPA's regional haze regulations allow for, and encourage through deferment of deadlines, a coordinated approach to addressing regional haze issues. As part of the implementation of the regional haze regulations, U.S. EPA has provided grant funds for five regional planning organizations ("RPOs") to facilitate their efforts to assess visibility impairment in the region. Ohio has been included for this purpose with the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin have already joined together to form LADCO which has provided technical support to assist its member states in addressing the one-hour ozone NAAQS.
LADCO and Ohio EPA desire to form an RPO to address the issues related to the federal regional haze program and pollutants such as fine particulate matter that contribute to regional haze.
LADCO and Ohio EPA agree that this RPO shall be known as the Midwest Regional Planning Organization ("Midwest RPO") and that this RPO shall assess both visibility impairment due to regional haze in the mandatory Federal Class I areas located inside the borders of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and the impact of emissions from the five states on visibility impairment due to regional haze in the mandatory Federal Class I areas located outside the borders of the five States.
LADCO and Ohio EPA agree that the formation of the Midwest RPO will assist in the development of air quality planning to fulfill the federal program requirement that states develop State Implementation Plans ("SIPs") to address regional haze.
LADCO and Ohio EPA recognize that U.S. EPA has made funding available for multi-state planning organizations to begin to assess visibility impairment in their region.
Ohio EPA recognizes that considerable technical expertise has already been developed by LADCO in addressing the one-hour ozone NAAQS, which expertise can be utilized to address the regional haze regulations.
LADCO recognizes that the addition of the technical expertise of Ohio EPA personnel to address the issues covered by this MOA will further the effort to achieve a successful regional response to visibility and regional haze.
It is the intent of the LADCO member states and the State of Ohio, through Ohio EPA, to reach a consensus agreement on technical tools to be used to develop regional haze SIPs (e.g., identification of pollutants contributing to visibility impairment, emissions data and modeling, meteorological data and modeling, air quality measurements and analyses, and air quality modeling), and to determine, if necessary, any required regional control strategy or strategies.
Nonetheless, the LADCO member states and the State of Ohio recognize that it shall remain the responsibility and obligation of each individual member state of the Midwest RPO to prepare and submit final regional haze control strategies and rules for its state.
IN ORDER TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE INTENT OF THIS MOA, LADCO AND OHIO EPA agree as follows:
Organization: The Midwest RPO will be organized as follows:
1. Policy Steering Committee - The Policy Steering Committee will consist of the Environmental Directors of the member states of the Midwest RPO, and the Regional Administrator of U.S. EPA, Region 5, or his designee (as a non-voting member of the committee). The Policy Steering Committee shall provide the overall policy direction for the identification and evaluation of regional planning efforts, and shall serve as the forum for the resolution of disputes. All members shall use their best efforts to develop a set of regional planning efforts and, eventually, any necessary control strategies that will have consensus among all the member States. The Policy Steering Committee shall adopt operating procedures, by-laws, and other conventions necessary for its operation. The Policy Steering Committee will meet as appropriate to oversee the progress of the effort.
2. Technical Steering Committee - The Technical Steering Committee will consist of the Directors of the Air Quality offices of the member states of the Midwest RPO, and the Director of the Air and Radiation Division of the U.S. EPA, Region 5. The Technical Steering Committee shall be responsible for the day-to-day management of the development of regional planning efforts, including the development of technical assessment criteria and control strategies, if necessary, and shall meet as necessary to carry out these duties.
3. Strategy Project Team - Personnel designated by the Directors of the Air Quality offices of the member states of the Midwest RPO shall organize a Strategy Project Team to carry out the directions of the Technical Steering Committee and to guide the development of regional planning efforts, including the development of a work plan for the Midwest RPO compatible with the criteria for such work plans set out in Attachment A to this MOA. Each State will designate two representatives as members of the Strategy Project Team, and will further provide that one representative will serve as principal spokesperson. The U.S. EPA will provide two representatives such that both Region 5 and U.S. EPA Headquarters are participants.
The LADCO member states and the State of Ohio recognize that the operations of the Strategy Project Team, including development of the work plan, are a high priority and agree to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the designated representatives receive support for full participation in the effort. The Strategy Project Team will meet on a regular basis and will form appropriate subcommittees as necessary to address specific concerns.
Contractual Arrangements and Professional Staff
LADCO and Ohio EPA recognize that an effort of this magnitude and importance may involve the use of LADCO staff and/or contractual assistance for various activities, in addition to the members of the Strategy Project Team and other State and federal agency staff. Subject to the availability of funding, the professional staff of LADCO shall be available to work on this effort.
Scope of Work
In developing the work plan consistent with the guidelines in Attachment A, LADCO and Ohio EPA recognize that the effort undertaken by the Midwest RPO, with the assistance of LADCO staff and the individuals designated through the organization of the Midwest RPO as described in the "Organization" section of this MOA, will consist of at least the following areas of work:
1. Identify any geographic areas of special need or focus (e.g., mandatory Federal Class I areas);
2. Develop the appropriate methodology to determine emissions of pollutants impacting regional visibility;
3. Gather the appropriate air quality, meteorological, and emissions data;
4. Evaluate and quality assure the air quality, meteorological, and emissions data;
5. Establish an operational, technically credible air quality model for regional haze;
6. Apply the air quality model to assess various control strategies necessary for each state to submit a SIP as necessary to address its impact and the region's impact, if any, on regional visibility impairment; and
7. Coordinate and develop public outreach and communication regarding the efforts of the Midwest RPO.
During the course of the effort to develop a regional control strategy the Midwest RPO will, to the extent practicable, seek the advice of regulated industries, local governments, public interest groups, and others on matters related to regional haze. LADCO and Ohio EPA recognize that the LADCO member states and the State of Ohio may also conduct outreach programs on an individual state basis.
LADCO and Ohio EPA recognize the importance of securing adequate funding to carry out a comprehensive control strategy development program for regional haze. The Midwest RPO created through this MOA will make all reasonable efforts to secure funding from U.S. EPA through a line-item appropriation and through other federal funds. Funding from private groups may also be sought and applied to the Midwest RPO's expenses only upon unanimous written agreement of the Policy Steering Committee.
If funding from the LADCO member states and the State of Ohio becomes necessary to carry out the work of the Midwest RPO, then such funding must be agreed to by all the states. It is intended that, should such an agreement be made, each state involved in such agreement will contribute equally to the efforts of the Midwest RPO.
Terms of Agreement
This MOA shall take effect upon execution by both LADCO and Ohio EPA subject to the provisions for withdrawal below, and shall continue in effect until a consensus has been reached on appropriate control strategies, those strategies (or consensus alternatives) are approved by U.S. EPA, and those strategies (or consensus alternatives) are implemented by the respective states.
LADCO certifies that it has the authority to act for its member states in entering into this agreement. The Ohio EPA certifies that it has the authority to act for the State of Ohio in entering into this agreement
Either signatory to this agreement may elect to withdraw from the agreement by providing written notice to the other signatory 60 days in advance of such action. The MOA shall then cease to have effect as of the effective date of the withdrawal. Further, if one or more States elect to withdraw from LADCO, then this MOA shall cease to have effect as of the effective date of the withdrawal from LADCO.
In the event that changes to this MOA are appropriate, it may be modified by consent of both signatories.
For the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium:
Title: Technical Director, Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium Date
For the State of Ohio:
Title: Director, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Date
(Note: this document was prepared by USEPA and was distributed with a memo dated August 27, 1999, entitled "Funding Criteria for Regional Planning Bodies" from John Seitz, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, USEPA)
Framework for Planning
a. Background and Purpose
The purpose of this guidance is to provide a framework for regional air quality planning efforts for the regional haze program. Over the past several years, the regional nature of air quality problems has been a significant topic of discussion between EPA, the States, and interested stakeholders.
The national goal of the visibility program, as set forth by Congress, is to "remedy any existing impairment and prevent any future impairment" in mandatory Class I Federal areas that are caused by human activity. Under section 169A of the Act, a State is required to submit a visibility SIP if the State contains sources of emissions which "may be reasonably anticipated to cause of contribute to any impairment of visibility" in any Class I area. Because scientific evidence and monitoring data show that transported emissions can contribute to visibility impairment in many mandatory Federal Class I areas, and these areas can be significantly affected by relatively small changes in emissions loadings, EPA believes that under the regional haze program it will be beneficial for all States (and associated tribes at their discretion) to initially participate in regional coordination and planning activities.
However, this is not to say that each participating State would necessarily be required to implement additional emissions reductions strategies for regional haze purposes. Rather, EPA strongly recommends that all States (and tribes at their discretion) participate at least in the organizational development and technical assessment phases of a regional planning process in order to determine relative State contributions to visibility impairment in the 156 Class I areas across the country and to identify which States should work together in the strategy development process. To accomplish this, States involved in regional planning efforts will also need to better understand regional PM2.5 inventories and which PM2.5 constituents are the major contributors to PM2.5 mass and associated visibility impairment.
The EPA strongly encourages regional planning to develop regional haze programs. Any future planning process should be led by the States (and tribes at their discretion), not EPA. The EPA has received the States' suggestions on the States they believe it is most useful for them to work with. The EPA recommends that the States begin the organizational development process by starting broadly, with the five groups of States identified in the July 29, 1999, letter from Robert Perciasepe to the State Environmental Commissioners. It is also recommended the four bodies east of the Rockies meet twice a year to coordinate on issues and activities of mutual concern.
The EPA recognizes that considerable technical and policy expertise has been developed by the States and stakeholder groups as a result of past regional planning efforts and EPA supports future approaches that will take advantage of and expand upon this level of expertise.
b. Development of a Regional Air quality Planning Effort
(1) Important Principles for Future Regional Air Quality Planning Efforts
Over the past several years, EPA has supported and participated in the activities of several regional air quality management efforts. In addition, the FACA Subcommittee on Ozone, Particulate Matter, and Regional Haze Implementation Programs spent a significant amount of time discussing regional air quality planning efforts and provided ideas on possible structures, authorities, and responsibilities for such efforts. By drawing upon past experience, as well as the ideas of the Subcommittee, EPA recommends that the States and tribes develop future regional air quality planning efforts consistent with the following important principles:
(A) Organization and Representation
- •Regional planning efforts should be a product of State and tribal leadership and, thus, should be led by States and tribes, not EPA. States and tribes will be the voting members of the regional planning bodies.
- •Representatives should have the authority to speak for their organizations.
- •States should be officially represented by the Governor or Governor's designee. This is consistent with language regarding interstate transport commissions and visibility transport commissions in the Act, though it is not required to the extent that these groups are not organized under the interstate transport and visibility commission provisions of the Act.
- •Regional planning efforts need to reflect the interests of not only all appropriate levels of State and tribal government, but also the diversity of interests within the region, including environmental organizations, industry groups, and others, as appropriate, which should be part of the workgroups but not voting members of the regional planning bodies.
- •Under the recently promulgated Tribal Authority Rule(1), eligible tribal governments may elect to develop their own air quality management programs. Where tribal governments choose not to implement air programs, the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act (Act) to ensure implementation of programs necessary to protect tribal air resources. While States will be responsible for submitting individual SIPs, EPA and the States recognize the need for planning activities that address the broader regional nature of the problem. This guidance is directly applicable to that regional planning effort which will support the later SIP development efforts. Eligible tribes have the option of participating in this process or developing tribal implementation plans independently.
- •The roles of the Federal Land Managers and other Federal agencies should be clearly delineated in the early stages of organizational development.
- •The organization of a regional effort should recognize and accommodate important functional needs (e.g., overall process coordination and oversight, technical assessment, public outreach and communication, strategy development, process oversight, etc).
- •Any geographic areas of special need or focus (e.g., Class I areas, other important areas for PSD, etc.) should be clearly defined early in the process.
- •A process should be established by which the regional planning body or a successor body will follow up on unresolved issues, track regional progress, and implement alterative provisions or actions.
(B) Work Plan Criteria and Schedules
- •States and tribes should be prepared to make strong, early commitments to implementing the outcome of the regional process to ensure that SIP submittal dates are met. This means allowing time for formation and conclusion of the regional planning process and SIP/TIP development and review by appropriate levels of government and the public before submission to EPA.
- •The EPA will deliver appropriate guidance to support the regional planning process. The EPA will have the flexibility to adjust certain interim milestones as appropriate. However, EPA should also set a clear endpoint to these efforts, consistent with Act deadlines for SIP submissions.
- •Participants in regional planning efforts should set up a work plan to carry out their work. The work plan should contain clearly stated products of the process, dates for completion of those products, mechanisms for funding the needed analyses, and organizational structure for overall coordination and oversight. The work plan should also provide an overview of what is required to fully meet the regional haze rule requirements as well as an estimate/projection of what it will cost to get the job done.
- •These criteria for work plans for the regional planning bodies are consistent with those attached to Robert Perciasepe's March 5, 1999, letter to the State Environmental Commissioners and reflect general requirements for federal grants. The conference language in the House Appropriations Committee report states that work plans should include a schedule for completing the plan, a schedule for each State to use the results of the plan in its SIP, and a year-by-year projection of the federal funding required to ensure that the regional haze program will not result in an unfunded mandate on the States.
- •EPA recognizes the fact that not all of the five regional planning bodies are at the same level of understanding of the scope of their region's problems. There may be some planning bodies that need to do more organizing and developing the scope while other planning bodies may be further ahead and ready to begin the implementation phase.
The following criteria will be used in evaluating the work plans developed by the regional planning bodies.
(1) Clearly state overall goals and objectives and describe what will be needed to meet the regional haze rule requirements, including cost projections.
(2) Clearly state what is expected to be accomplished within the funding provided; distinguish among administrative, technical and product related activities.
SCOPE & FOCUS
(3) Describe scope of work (e.g., geographic area, Class I areas, visibility issues, types of sources, pollutants).
- Provide coverage of Class I areas, including source and receptor areas and preparation of a modeling protocol (e.g., analysis of monitored data to describe transport, domain/grid details, meteorological episodes, model selection and evaluation, selection and testing of emission control scenarios, and metrics for presentation of results).
(5) Describe plan (i.e., strategy and process) to accomplish goals and objectives.
- Clearly state criteria and process for setting priorities, including time lines for implementation of the modeling protocol.
- Include schedule with major milestones and products.
(8) Clearly describe what will be produced and ensure products are consistent with the requirements of the Regional Haze Rule and Congressional intent.
- Explain how products will meet the needs of States and tribes.
- Indicate how products are related (i.e., critical pathways).
OPERATIONAL AND FISCAL MANAGEMENT
(11) Ensure adequate level of personnel to manage the grant.
- Ensure sufficient funding for products as well as administrative and overhead costs.
- Clearly distinguish between new grant activities (EPM funds) and ongoing grant activities and operational costs (STAG funds) since EPM and STAG funds cannot be co-mingled.
TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES
(14) Describe activities for developing a comprehensive emissions inventory including utilization of existing technical information from other regional planning activities, such as OTAG and SAMI.
- Identify process for selecting numerical grid model or other regional transport analysis technique.
- Describe procedure for evaluation and selection of Class I area progress goals and associated emission control alternatives to demonstrate reasonable progress in accordance with the Regional Haze Rule.
- Identify regional haze and particulate matter data bases available for analysis to assess transport.
( 18) Provide for quarterly progress reports that identify accomplishments and any issues in delivering products or meeting goals on schedule.
(C) Coordination/Consistency between Regional Planning Bodies on Planning Efforts
- •Regional efforts need to be planned in such a way as to ensure that the essential elements (e.g., modeling tools and emissions inventories) are consistent both within and between the regions to support regional analyses.
- •All sources of emissions need to be accounted for - and treated consistently - in technical analyses across a transport region and in the recommendations that are made.
- •Regional planning efforts should establish how emissions transported from outside of the region will be quantified and considered (e.g., from other regions, international transport).
- •Regional planning efforts should establish a process for selection of baselines, identification of strategy and control technology options, and selection of final recommendations.
- •The four regional planning bodies east of the Rockies should meet at least twice a year to share information, coordinate issues of mutual concern, and avoid the potential duplication of efforts. OAQPS will arrange and facilitate these meetings. The regional planning bodies should consider memoranda of agreement among themselves to assure compatibility of programs.
(2) Technical Assessment Phase
In the past, the technical assessment process has involved reviewing monitoring data, developing an emissions inventory, and analyzing future emissions reductions scenarios using models or other appropriate methods. These activities are designed to meet several objectives: to understand current pollutant levels; to identify the principal contributing sources or activities; to estimate benefits due to implementation of other air quality programs; to determine which States or areas are contributing to another State's problem; and to estimate the impact of future strategies on air quality, control costs and other factors. The EPA is currently working closely with the States to develop enhanced technical tools (monitoring networks, emissions factors, emissions inventories, regional scale models, etc.) needed to conduct these assessments.
The technical assessment process should include but is not limited to the following steps:
- •Problem definition - The first task of the technical assessment process for a regional planning effort will be to clearly define the problem to be evaluated. For example, preparation of a modeling protocol and initial data analysis will provide an assessment of the problem and the technical approach that will be used in identifying pollution control alternatives.
- •Emissions inventory - It will be critical to have enhanced, statewide emissions inventories for PM and ozone precursors as well as primary PM. To facilitate coordinated analyses across a region, the States will need to ensure consistent methods for defining and characterizing sources and their emissions and should utilize existing technical information from other regional planning activities, such as OTAG and SAMI.
- •Development of tools to evaluate strategy alternatives - The regional planning bodies will need to agree upon methodologies and criteria to be used to evaluate alternative emissions management strategies in a consistent manner. Accordingly, the group will need the modeling protocol and initial data analysis as starting point and a "road map" that will define this process. Many past regional planning efforts have used regional scale modeling approaches to evaluate alternatives; it is assumed that the same general approach will be used for these analyses. A definition is also necessary of how health and environmental costs and benefits, economic and demographic projections, definition of "baseline" condition due to implementation of other programs, and other factors will be included in the assessment.
(3) Strategy Development, Adoption, and Implementation Phase
Once the technical assessment phase is completed, the regional body should move to the strategy development and adoption phase. The regional planning effort may adjust its membership at this time during the implementation phase if all the States can agree that one or more particular States are not significantly contributing or "reasonably anticipated to cause or contribute to any impairment of visibility" in any Class I area.
A State that does not meet the preceding description, however, may wish to retain its participation in the regional planning effort if it would benefit from a regional strategy. In this phase, the regional body should strive to develop a consensus about: (a) the set of regional emissions reductions strategies needed to make "reasonable progress" toward the national visibility goal in class I areas and (b) the degree to which each State and relevant source category should be required to reduce emissions to implement the recommended strategies.
The final step would be for each State to adopt and implement a SIP which includes enforceable measures as part of the regional strategy, including any strategies designed to improve air quality in class I areas located outside the State.
1. Indian Tribes: Air Quality Planning and Management, 63 FR 7254, February 12, 1998