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U.S. EPA ANNOUNCES FIRST OFFSHORE AIR POLLUTION RULES

 U.S. EPA ANNOUNCES FIRST OFFSHORE AIR POLLUTION RULES
 SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced the first regulations issued under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to control air pollution from offshore sources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Areas affected are offshore of states along the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic coasts, and along the U.S. Gulf Coast off Florida.
 "Air pollution from Outer Continental Shelf development can contribute to onshore violations of federal and state standards," said U.S. EPA Administrator William K. Reilly. "Today's rule, developed in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Coast Guard, will ensure that offshore sources cut air pollution onshore, thereby helping deliver the environmental and health benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act."
 "By equalizing onshore and offshore air pollution requirements, the regulation spreads the burden more equitably," added William G. Rosenberg, U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
 Under the regulation, sources located within 25 miles of states' seaward boundaries will be subject to the same state, local and federal requirements as if they were located in the corresponding onshore areas. If U.S. EPA finds state regulations are adequate, the agency will delegate to that state implementation and enforcement authority for the OCS regulations. Sources located beyond the 25-mile limit will be subject only to federal requirements.
 Within two years this rule will result in significant benefits to certain onshore areas currently violating smog standards. For instance, in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, nitrogen dioxide will be reduced by more than 750 tons per year and volatile organic compound emissions (the prime component of smog) will be cut more than 620 tons annually by 1994. These reductions should help alleviate health and environmental effects associated with ground-level ozone (smog), including decreased lung functioning, chest pain, coughs, susceptibility to respiratory infections, and vegetation damage.
 New OCS sources must comply with the final rule immediately. Existing sources have two years to comply.
 The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 exempt from this final rule OCS facilities in the Gulf Coast areas adjacent to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. These areas remain under the jurisdiction of the Mineral Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). By Nov. 15, 1993, DOI must complete a study to determine the impact of emissions from OCS activities on areas violating smog and nitrogen dioxide standards in these four states. Based on the study, the secretary of DOI, in consultation with the U.S. EPA administrator, will decide whether further action is necessary.
 Today's rule applies to any source of offshore air pollution in any industry authorized or regulated under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Currently the only operational sources are in the oil and gas industry off California and Alaska. There are 23 oil and gas platforms currently operating in the area adjacent to California. There is also exploratory drilling currently in progress on the OCS adjacent to Alaska. Two more platforms currently in construction or development off California will be subject to the rule when they become operational.
 U.S. EPA is authorized by the Clean Air Act to exempt offshore sources from a control technology requirement if compliance is technologically infeasible or will cause an unreasonable threat to health and safety. A substitute control must be imposed, however, and any emission increase resulting from this exemption must be offset by emission reductions from the same source or other sources in the offshore area, or in an adjacent onshore area.
 The rule applies to platform and drill ship exploration, construction, development, production, processing and transportation. Emissions from any vessel servicing or associated with an OCS source, when the vessel is docked at or within 25 miles enroute to or from the source, will be treated as if they were from the stationary OCS source.
 The estimated total annual cost of complying with this rule for all OCS sources is $5 million annually in 1994.
 The Environmental Defense Fund, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District have filed lawsuits against U.S. EPA for failure to meet the statutory deadline of Nov. 15, 1991, for issuing today's final rule. The plaintiffs have moved for a summary judgment on this issue. On Aug. 10, 1992, the court granted U.S. EPA a continuance of the summary judgment hearing until Aug. 24, 1992. This continuance was based on an affadavit submitted by U.S. EPA stating that the rule would be signed by Aug. 21, 1992.
 The final rule will appear soon in the Federal Register.
 -0- 8/24/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Glenn of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1589/ CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: SU:


RM -- SF005 -- 2696 08/24/92 16:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 24, 1992
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