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EPA Seeks to Delay Implementation of PAMS Requirement

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday published a notice that it would like to delay the start of the PhotoChemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) by two years. The announcement comes just one day before the requirement was scheduled to go into effect.

“This proposed revision would extend the start date from June 1, 2019, to June 1, 2021,” the notice reads. “The proposed revision would give states two additional years to acquire the necessary equipment and expertise needed to successfully make the required PAMS measurements by the start of the 2021 PAMS season.”

By way of background, the Clean Air Act Amendments required the EPA to expand rules for the enhanced monitoring of ozone, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds to obtain more comprehensive and representative data on ozone air pollution.

Immediately following the promulgation of those rules, the affected states were to begin adopting and implementing a program to improve ambient air monitoring activities, as well as the monitoring of NOx and VOCs.

Each State Implementation Plan – known as a SIP – must contain measures to implement the ambient monitoring of those air pollutants. Federal regulations also required states to establish PAMS as part of their SIP monitoring networks in ozone non-attainment areas that are classified as either serious, severe, or extreme.

As a result of the delay, ACHD will not begin making PAMS measurements at the Lawrenceville (monitoring site) in 2019 and will work with the EPA to begin measurements on or before the final revised start date for this network.

Long-term exposure to ozone is linked to aggravation of asthma, and is likely to be one of many causes of asthma development. Long-term exposures to higher concentrations of ozone may also be linked to permanent lung damage, such as abnormal lung development in children.

The reasons behind the PAMS requirement? The lack of attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone nationwide, as well as a need for a more comprehensive air quality database for ozone and its precursors.

GASP’s take on the proposed delay of implementing the PAMS rule? This is essentially the equivalent of the EPA showing up the day the assignment was due and asking for a two-year extension. We are dismayed by the delay and late notice.

Editor’s Note: More information on PAMS can be found on the EPA website here.

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