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EPA Announces Federal Rule Change for Idaho’s Air Quality Protection Plan

Release Date: 07/31/2008
Contact Information: Donna Deneen, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-6706, Mike McGown, EPA/Boise, 208-378-5764, Tony Brown, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-1203,

New rule allows State's new crop residue burn program to begin as early as September

(Seattle, Washington - July 31, 2008) A rule to be published Friday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, modifies Idaho's State Implementation Plan (SIP*) and will allow for a resumption of agricultural field burning as early as September, 2008. The change was requested by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in Boise.

This rule allows agricultural burning in Idaho only if the burning is conducted in accordance with the state's rules. Under these rules, agricultural burning is not allowed without obtaining advance permission from IDEQ. EPA's approval does not extend to agricultural burning on Indian Reservations and other Indian country lands in Idaho.

As part of the official request for EPA to approve this action, IDEQ needed to conduct a detailed analysis that demonstrated that the revised Plan satisfied federal Clean Air Act requirements. As explained in the federal register notice, EPA evaluated the state submittal and is approving it because it satisfies those requirements.

According to Elin Miller, EPA Regional Administrator, the approval marks a milestone in this ongoing collaborative effort.

“Our final approval acknowledges Idaho’s achievement in involving stakeholders throughout the development of the burn program," said EPA's Miller. "In the state's submission, IDEQ focused on the protection of public health and public notification. These efforts lay the groundwork for success."

The rule further explains that before granting approval to burn, IDEQ must consider a number of factors, such as the existing air quality in the area, the expected emissions from the proposed burn, the proximity of the proposed burn to other burns and to sensitive populations or areas like public roadways, and airports. IDEQ must also notify the public about the date of the burn, location, acreage and crop type prior to ignition.

The rule's approval is effective on August 31, 2008, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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*A SIP is a set of air quality rules that identify how a state will meet the national ambient air quality standards. Revisions to the SIP are submitted to EPA for review and approval. Once approved, the plan is federally enforceable under the Clean Air Act.

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