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Environmental Health Division: Air Quality - Current Issues

Environmental Health Division: Air Quality
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Air Quality - 2013 Rule Changes

 The proposed rule changes have been approved by the Air Pollution Control Board, Missoula County Commissioners and Missoula City Council.

Final approval of the proposed rule changes will be by the Montana State Board of Environmental Review (BER) Hearing.  At this time, the BER Hearing date has not been set.

 

View the proposed rule changes to Chapters 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 14 at the links below.

Summary of Regulation Changes

  • Chapter 4 “Missoula County Air Stagnation and Emergency Episode Avoidance Plan”
    • Proposed changes specify that health advisories are the appropriate response for wildfire smoke episodes, not regulatory actions such as Alerts or Warnings.
  • Chapter 6 “Standards for Stationary Sources”
    • Proposed change allows portable sources with a Montana State Air Quality Permit to apply for a temporary industrial permit in the county while a permanent permitting process is in action.
    • Proposed change allows Air Pollution Control Board to require an air quality permit if one is needed to protect the national ambient air quality standards.
    • Administrative review process is removed from permitting actions.  See Chapter 14 summary below.
  • Chapter 7 “Outdoor Burning”
    • Clarifies the bonfire definition for the county.
    • Updates the outdoor burning program procedures.
  • Chapter 8 “Fugitive Particulate”
    •  Allows alternatives to asphalt or concrete paving for new vehicle use areas in situations where other surfaces with low fugitive emissions are technically feasible.
    • Changes clarify that temporary roads at mining sites may not need to be paved and that material carry out at mining sites must be controlled to reduce fugitive emissions.
    • Trade names are removed from the rules.
  • Chapter 9 “Solid Fuel Burning Devices”
    • Allows licensed mobile food service establishment to get a solid fuel burning device permit throughout the county.  This change will allow the air rules to mesh better with goals of the county licensed establishment food handling program.  To comply with the air rules, mobile food service establishments currently place their solid fuel cooking devices outside the mobile unit.  Best food handling practices would allow for the cooking to occur inside the mobile unit.  This rule change would allow the solid fuel burning/cooking devices to be inside the mobile unit and the rule does not allow the solid fuel burning device to be used in the winter months when we have air pollution problems from these types of devices.
    • Stove dealers in the county will be required to label where specific solid fuel burning devices may be installed in the county.  This change is needed to reflect previous changes in solid fuel burning device installation requirements through out the county.  This requirement will make it clearer to customers what devices can be installed where in the county.
    • Reference errors are corrected.
  • Chapter 14 “Enforcement and Administrative Procedures”
    • Removes the Administrative Review Process from the Air Pollution Control Program permitting actions and clarifies who may request an Air Board Hearing.  The administrative review process has never been successfully used to resolve disputes or concerns with permitting actions.  All request for an administrative review of an air permitting action have gone to an Air Board Hearing.  The administrative review process for air permits is a redundant step that uses up staff, public and permittee's time with no benefit or resolution.  The ability for affected parties to request a Hearing before the Air Board for a department permitting action is maintained.
    • Who can request an Air Board Hearing is also clarified and expanded in this rule rewrite.

Legal Notices and Public Hearings

As required by local regulations and State law, legal notices were published in October in the Independent newspaper to announce the October 18th public hearing.

The Air Board Hearing was continued on November 15 and a legal add announcing the continuation of the hearing was publicized twice.

The Air Pollution Control Board made a final decision on the proposed rule changes at their November 15 meeting.  Air Pollution Control Board meeting and hearings are usually held the third Thursday of the month starting some time after 12:15 pm at the Health Department second floor conference room, 301 West Alder in Missoula.

The City Council and the County Commissioners held a combined hearing on the proposed rule changes at 7:00 PM on February 25 in the Missoula City Council Chambers at 140 W. Pine Street.  Proposed rule changes were approved by the County Commissioners and Missoula City Council at the Hearing.

 

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