Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Natural and Historic Resources
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Board
Petition 63
Petition Information
Petition Title Virginia's Opacity Standard - Amendment of Chapter 50 - Section 80
Date Filed 8/25/2008   
Petitioner Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee 
Petitioner's Request

MWAQC is concerned that the opacity standards for new and existing facilities in Virginia are set at a level that is too high to be sufficiently protective of human health. On March 7, 2008, MWAQC adopted a resolution to petition the Air Board to revise the opacity standard. The District of Columbia and Maryland have much stricter opacity standards (0-10%) for emissions from point sources in the Metropolitan Washington D.C. non-attainment area. In contrast, Virginia's opacity standard at 20%, is the least stringent of the three jurisdictions. MWAQC requests that the State Air Pollution Control Board lower the Virginia opacity standard from 20% to 10%, at least in the Northern Virginia region, to be more consistent with those of the District of Columbia and Maryland. MWAQC believes that such action could help to improve air quality in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

Agency's Plan

Receive comments on the petition for 21 days and present petition and comments to State Air Pollution Control Board for a decision on whether or not to initiate a rulemaking.  Comments can be posted to the Public Comment Forum of the Town Hall or sent to Doris McLeod at or Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218.

Comment Period Ended 10/20/2008
Agency Decision Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]    
Response Date 11/20/2009
Agency Decision Summary

After a presentation by staff on the results of the public comment period on the petition and staff analysis of those comments and receiving comments from the petitioner and other interested persons the Board voted to accept staff recommendations to not initiate a rulemaking at this time. The recommendation was based on the following: the benefit of new opacity limits were difficult to quantify and impacted entities commented on the significant costs to retrofit, upgrade and or replace equipment; PM2.5 air quality is good with trends showing improvement and inventory estimates showing large expected reductions in precursor pollutants in coming years; and the limited agency resources for regulation development were better used on other air quality improvement programs.