St. Louis 8-Hour Ozone and PM2.5
State Implementation Plan Opportunities for Involvement

What is a SIP?

Federal law (section 110 of the Clean Air Act) requires that states having nonattainment areas develop written plans for cleaning the air in those areas. Nonattainment areas are those areas designated by the Environmental Protection Agency that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, NAAQS. The plans are called State Implementation Plans, or SIPs, and it is the state's responsibility to produce these plans that document the strategy for bringing the nonattainment area into compliance with the NAAQS and keeping it there. The plan must contain federally enforceable control measures, and a series of specific elements required by federal law and regulation. SIPs are submitted to the EPA for their review and approval.

What is my role?

The state is interested in your perspective. In fact, federal law requires that the SIP development process include public participation. Poor air quality affects local citizens and businesses, but the strategies for controlling air pollution also have a direct effect on the residents and industry located in the nonattainment area. While developing SIPs is the responsibility of the state, it is critical that the local community be directly involved in these weighty decisions. It is important that all voices are given a place at the table; citizens, commercial businesses and industry, motorists, academics, environmental advocates, those suffering with lung disease, transportation planners and local governments all play a role in the SIP development process.

How is the participation organized?

Air Quality Advisory Committee: The East-West Gateway Council of Governments is a forum for cooperative planning and problem-solving for issues that cross metropolitan boundaries in St. Louis. This organization serves as the metropolitan planning organization for the entire St. Louis region including the local governments on the Illinois side of the metropolitan area. In 1992 East-West Gateway Council of Governments created a standing committee called the Air Quality Advisory Committee . This committee functions in an advisory role to the East-West Gateway Board of Directors and serves as a public forum for the dissemination of information and receipt of feedback about air quality issues. This committee is very active and typically meets on a monthly basis. The Air Quality Advisory Committee is comprised of individuals representing a very wide spectrum of interests. Because these various interests are so well represented in this committee, the state has decided that this group would serve as the overarching stakeholder group for the development of the St. Louis 8-hour ozone and fine particle SIPs. This body will serve in an advisory capacity and provide feedback from a local perspective on the development of these SIPs. Meeting agendas and meeting summaries of past meetings can be found on the committee website.

Modeling Workgroup: This workgroup is responsible for the planning and management of the technical work necessary to demonstrate attainment including air pollution emissions estimation, and meteorological and photochemical modeling. The Workgroup is also responsible for contractor selection, data analysis, coordination and communication of model results to the Air Quality Advisory Committee, the Control Strategy Development Workgroup, and the State Agency Air Directors. The Modeling and Data Analysis Workgroup meets on a regular basis to coordinate the performance of technical activities. Meetings are open to stakeholders and representatives from local agencies having the technical expertise to contribute to work activities.

Control Strategy Workgroup: This workgroup is responsible for the identification and technical evaluation of control strategies needed to demonstrate attainment and meet other regulatory requirements; including the preparation of controlled inventories and future growth projections, tracking of federal requirements, identification of other control measures, and evaluation of feasibility and costs. The Control Strategy Workgroup is also responsible for developing the communication tools needed to explain control strategy options. The Workgroup meets on a regular basis to coordinate the performance of these technical activities. Meetings are open to stakeholders and representatives from local agencies having the technical expertise to contribute to work activities. In addition to developing enforceable control measures, the Control Strategy Workgroup recognized a need to coordinate voluntary emission control efforts. A Voluntary Measures Subcommittee was formed to recognize and quantify these emission reductions that are ongoing in St. Louis or that may be initiated quickly as a means of immediately improving air quality.

What is the nature of the ozone problem?

What is the nature of the fine particle, or PM2.5, problem?

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller in size. 2.5 micrometers is approximately 1/30 the size of a human hair; so small that several thousand of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence. The sources of PM2.5 include fuel combustion from automobiles, power plants, wood burning, industrial processes, and diesel powered vehicles such as buses and trucks. These fine particles are also formed in the atmosphere when gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds (all of which are also products of fuel combustion) are transformed in the air by chemical reactions. Fine particles are of concern because they are risk to both human health and the environment.

Because these particles are so small they are able to penetrate to the deepest parts of the lungs. Scientific studies have suggested links between fine particulate matter and numerous health problems including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths. Most of these premature deaths are the elderly who's immune systems are weaker due to age or other health problems such as cardiopulmonary diseases. Children are more susceptible to the health risks of PM2.5 because their immune and respiratory systems are still developing. The average adult breaths 13,000 liters of air per day and children breath up to 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults. The breathing of fine particles by children is believed to cause both acute and chronic respiratory problems such as asthma. Forty percent of all asthma cases are children who make up only 25 percent of the population.