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U.S. EPA Publishes Amendments to the General Conformity Rules Under the Clean Air Act

On April 5, 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published amendments to the general conformity rules under the Clean Air Act.  The general conformity rules require federal agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to analyze whether their proposed actions are consistent with State Implementation Plans for air pollutants like ozone.  The amendments provide some additional flexibility for meeting the conformity rule’s requirements and may prove useful for some airport capital and airspace projects.  EPA did not make one change that Airports Council International  and others have long sought:  exclusion of construction-related emissions from the conformity requirements.  EPA found that construction emissions from projects with a federal connection can affect compliance with air quality standards and, thus, that they should be assessed in the conformity reviews.