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Attainment State Implementation Plans

When an area doesn't meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards we work with local clean air agencies and affected communities to develop Attainment State Implementation Plans. Currently, all Washington communities meet federal standards.

What is an Attainment State Implementation Plan?

If air quality does not meet a standard, EPA may classify the affected area as nonattainment, meaning the area does not meet national air quality standards. A state implementation plan outlines actions to improve air quality.

The federal Clean Air Act requires Attainment State Implementation Plans (SIPs) be developed for areas not meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The plans describe how an area will be brought back into compliance with federal standards within a specific time frame.

An Attainment State Implementation Plan includes:

  • A current, comprehensive inventory of emissions.
  • Enforceable measures to reduce emissions. These measures may include a combination of state, local, and federal rules, plans, administrative orders, and permits for specific sources.
  • A demonstration that the measures in place will bring the area back into attainment within a specific deadline.
  • Contingency measures that will be implemented if the area does not meet the standard within the deadline.

Process to develop plans

We are required to submit complete attainment plans to EPA for approval. If we don't meet EPA deadlines they can issue sanctions, or implement a federal plan for Washington.

When we develop State Implementation Plans we follow the process below:
  1. We have a public comment period on an attainment state implementation plan.
  2. We send the plan to EPA for approval.
  3. EPA offers another public comment period.
  4. EPA approves the attainment plan which then becomes enforceable.
  5. When an area is back in compliance, we ask EPA to re-classify the area as in attainment or maintenance.
Once an area is meeting standards, we have additional requirements to ensure the area will continue meeting air quality standards in the future. We work with local clean air agencies and affected communities to develop two, 10-year maintenance state implementation plans to stay in compliance.