TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Bob Smith and Senator Christopher Bateman condemning the United States Environmental Protection Agency for its decision to withdraw the “once-in-always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act passed the Senate today.
The EPA announced earlier this year its intention to end the “once-in-always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act. The policy had established that once a facility is identified as a major source of air pollutants, it should continue to be regulated as such even after it has achieved reductions in its pollution output.
Federal law defines a major source of air pollution as a facility that releases 25 tons or more of hazardous air pollutants into the atmosphere each year. This standard has been in place for more than 20 years.
New Jersey has a particular interest in maintaining the “once-in-always-in” policy as there is a high health risk despite the reductions in air pollutants made by major sources to date.
“Our state has worked very hard to improve its air quality and the ‘once-in-always-in’ policy has been an integral component to our success,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex and Somerset). “It is shockingly irresponsible for the EPA to choose to withdraw this policy from the Clean Air Act and make the people of New Jersey vulnerable to a significant health risk.”
By removing the “once-in-always-in” policy from the Clean Air Act, sources will likely seek reclassification from “major” to “area” source status in order to take advantage of more streamlined recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
The resolution, SCR-121, passed the Senate with a vote of 26-12.