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Recommendations for 24-Hour Fine Particle (PM2.5) Nonattainment Area

Letter to the EPA

December 14, 2007

Mr. Alan J Steinberg
Regional Administrator
United States Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 26th Floor
New York, New York 10007-1866

Dear Regional Administrator Steinberg:

Pursuant to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memorandum dated April 1, 2003, from Assistant Administrator Jeffrey R. Holmstead to EPA Regional Administrators entitled, "Designations for the Fine Particle National Ambient Air Quality Standards," I am submitting New York State's designation recommendations on behalf of Governor Spitzer. We commend EPA for moving forward with appropriate actions for implementing the 24-Hour Fine Particle National Ambient Air Quality Standards (PM2.5 NAAQS) as a means to protect human health and the environment.

Review of statewide monitoring data shows only certain monitors in the New York Metropolitan Area (NYMA) to be in exceedance of the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. All other monitors in the state show attainment for the 2004-2006 period. Nonetheless, the Department of Environmental Conservation has carefully reviewed all nine factors that EPA requests be considered in determining the attainment status of all of the Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (CMSA) in New York, noting that EPA anticipates relying on the current metropolitan area definitions (published by the Office of Management and Budget on June 30, 1999) in establishing presumptive nonattainment area boundaries. Upon completion of this technical review (enclosed), DEC has concluded that the most effective boundary for a New York City nonattainment area for the 24-hour PM-2.5 standard includes 10 of the counties within the New York Metropolitan CMSA. These ten counties are Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.

Additionally, although air quality data collected in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls MSA indicated attainment of the area for the first time in 2004-2006, there is no clear downward trend in the concentrations of PM2.5. Wide variations both upward and downward without a definitive cause make it inappropriate to recommend either an attainment or nonattainment classification for this area. As such, our recommendation is that the attainment status of this area, which is comprised of Erie and Niagara Counties, be defined as "unclassifiable."

The remainder of the state, given the substantial compliance with the 24-hour standard and the very low likelihood of an effect of emissions or growth on other areas, is recommended to be classified as attainment.

We believe that each of these recommendations is consistent with Section 107(d) of the Clean Air Act.

Should you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact me at (518) 402-8540 or David J. Shaw, Director of DEC's Division of Air Resources at (518) 402-8452.


Alexander B. Grannis


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