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October 25, 2014
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Home > Environment > Air Quality > Overview & News

Air Quality

Climate Change Report Draft Released

coverNovember 2008 - On November 12, the COG Board approved the National Capital Region Climate Report, which includes significant greenhouse gas reduction goals for the region. The Board's actions are detailed in the press release. COG members, stakeholders and the public were invited to review the draft plan.  The report was revised to reflect comments received.  View the Final Report.


New Air Quality Particulate Plan Approved

March 2008 - The Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) has approved a new air quality plan to reduce fine particle pollution in the region. MWAQC’s new plan goes beyond Clean Air Act requirements in an effort to gain further reductions in fine particle pollution. Fine particle pollution is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. At 2.5 microns in diameter, the small particles can get deep into lungs and even the bloodstream. People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from this type of pollution.

The plan, adopted March 7, 2008, will be submitted by the states to EPA to meet the April 5, 2008 deadline. The plan is available on the COG website.


Fourth Edition of Air Quality Newsletter Released

coverJanuary 2008 - COG has published the fourth edition of Air Currents, a periodical discussing issues that the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) is currently facing. It is designed to inform MWAQC members about air quality planning and progress in the months between regular MWAQC meetings.


MWAQC Releases New Air Quality Plan for Comment

January 2008 - the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) has approved for comment an air quality plan to reduce fine particle pollution in the region. Fine particle pollution is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. At 2.5 microns in diameter, the small particles can get deep into lungs and even the bloodstream. People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from this type of pollution. View the press release for more detail.

The states' comment period will end with public hearings in the region January 28 - February 11. View the flyer for exact times.   The plan is available on the COG website for review. Comments may be submitted via e-mail.


New Air Quality Plan Approved

May 2007 -On May 23, the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) approved its air quality plan for the region, paving the way for state air agencies to submit the plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval. The Plan, called a State Implementation Plan (SIP), presents air quality data showing the region will meet the federal standard for ozone -- a harmful gas formed when the sun heats polluted air -- by the fall of 2009. Board approval of the plan followed a 30-day period for public comment that ended in April. Today's decision comes at the start of ozone season, when air quality forecasts are available daily. You may view the plan.

Overview of the COG Air Quality Program

The Council of Governments (COG) provides daily reports and forecasts of regional air quality. The Washington region is a non-attainment area for ground-level ozone and PM 2.5 according to federal health standards. As a participant in Clean Air Partners, COG helps notify area citizens and employers when unhealthy air quality is expected through AirAlerts. The ozone season generally runs between May and September.

Through COG, the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) and its subcommittees coordinate planning to reduce pollutant emissions. Visit the committee page for a description, schedule, upcoming meeting documents, past meeting documents, and roster. The committee has developed a severe area ozone SIP to reduce pollution levels. Visit the SIP page for more details or view other key air quality documents.

View Air News Archive
EPA Approves Portion of SIP

January 12, 2005 - In January EPA approved the Washington region’s Rate of Progress portion of the recently submitted “Severe Area SIP.” The approval includes approval of the contingency measures, transportation control measures, VMT offset analysis, and control measures, including voluntary measures. EPA expects to act on the attainment demonstration portion of the SIP in the next month. View the Federal Register notice of EPA’s proposed approval.


Designation of Non-Attainment for Fine Particles

April 5, 2005 - On April 5, 2005, the Washington, DC region’s designation as nonattainment for fine particles (PM2.5) became effective. The counties and cities included in the Washington, DC-MD-VA PM2.5 nonattainment area are the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun Counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park, and the Maryland counties of Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s. EPA still plans to issue guidance for implementing the new standard. Visit the EPA Fine Particle (PM 2.5) Designations page for more information.


EPA Action on Region's Air Quality Plan

May 13, 2005 - EPA approved the Virginia and District of Columbia 's one-hour ozone air quality plan (“Severe Area SIP”) to meet the Clean Air Act requirements for a severe ozone nonattainment area. EPA disapproved the Maryland plan with a protective finding for the mobile emissions budget, so the budget can be used for determining conformity for the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

EPA plans to revoke the one-hour standard on June 15, 2005. The Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) is developing a new air quality plan to meet the 8-hour ozone standard. The Metropolitan Washington region was designated as in moderate non-attainment of the 8-hour ozone standard and has a deadline of June 2010 to meet the new ozone standard. Visit the SIP page for more EPA rulings.

 


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