Unit 7.3: Federal Versus State Roles

Federal statutes (like the CAA) outline various regulations (such as MACT standards, NSPS, etc.), which federal agencies are responsible for enforcing. In many places, the Administrator of the EPA has delegated the authority to enforce these regulations to State (or even local) agencies. The State then becomes the permitting authority, but these state permits are federally enforceable. States can adopt Federal guidelines or make more stringent ones, but their regulations cannot be less stringent.

There are some permits, such as Title V permits, that are still reviewed at the Federal level. Also, some States have chosen not to accept the delegation of authority for certain programs underneath the CAA (especially in cases where they may not have the resources to handle the enforcement). These programs are still federally enforceable.

One other important requirement is for State Implementation Plans
(http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airregulations/sips/sipdetail.htm). Each state is required to have a SIP that defines how they will ensure that they can meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Areas within states that do not typically meet these standards are called non-attainment areas. Therefore, SIPs for states with nonattainment areas can have different requirements than SIPs for states that do not typically exceed the standards (because those states can focus on maintaining their status as they are not required to improve status to meet federal attainment levels).