Letterhead Logo


January 30, 2024

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219

Electronic Filing via Regulations.gov

Re: Comments on Proposed Air Plan Disapproval; Kansas; Regional Haze [EPA Docket No. EPA–R07–OAR–2023–0582]

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Sierra Club, and the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (collectively, the Conservation Groups) submit the following comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to disapprove Kansas’ Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the Second Planning Period (SIP Revision), 89 Fed. Reg. 178 (Jan. 2, 2024).

The Conservation Groups are active nationwide in advocating for strong air quality requirements to protect our national parks and wilderness areas. These groups have long participated in Regional Haze SIP comment periods, rulemakings, and litigation across the country to ensure that states and EPA satisfy their obligations under the Clean Air Act and the Regional Haze Rule (RHR). The Conservations Groups’ members—including NPCA’s 13,000+ members and Sierra Club’s 4,500+ members who live in Kansas—use and enjoy Class I areas that are impacted by Kansas’ sources of haze-forming pollution.

The Conservation Groups support EPA’s proposed disapproval of Kansas’ SIP Revision. As EPA explains in its proposal, Kansas wholly failed to satisfy the requirements of the Clean Air Act and RHR despite evidence that Kansas facilities impair visibility in numerous Class I areas, including Hercules-Glades and Upper Buffalo wilderness areas. The Regional Haze program is designed to ensure that all states are taking necessary steps to address visibility impairing pollution from in-state sources that harm national parks and wilderness areas whether or not a state is actually home to a protected Class I area. Kansas’ failure to select any sources for a Four-Factor Analysis or identify and include any new or existing controls that are necessary to make reasonable progress in its SIP Revision, as required for its long-term strategy, violates the requirements of the Regional Haze program. The deficiencies in the State’s SIP Revision permeated the entire SIP development process, including its state-to-state and federal land manager (FLM) consultations, rendering those consultations inadequate. However, EPA completely ignores its commitments to consider the environmental justice impacts of its actions, disavowing any need to consider environmental justice in its proposal. EPA should correct this error by utilizing readily available information to analyze environmental justice before finalizing its disapproval of Kansas’ SIP Revision.

Click here to read the full document.