The Clean Air Act’s (CAAs) visibility protection program was created in 1977 and expanded in 1990. It applies to states with sources of air emissions that impact 156 Federal Class I areas, which include national parks and wilderness areas. Such states are required to develop haze implementation plans (SIPs) to control emissions in order to restore natural visibility in Class I areas. Initially, large stationary sources that began operating between 1962 and 1977 were to install the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) based on regulations issued by EPA. This process resulted in complex rules, litigation, and political maneuvering. Subsequently, the CAA was expanded to include a regional haze program that requires haze SIPs to provide for reasonable progress using a phased approach to visibility protection. The requirements apply to nearly all pollution-emitting stationary sources. For some states, the regulations provide an alternative approach to BART requirements. If a state does not develop a haze SIP that receives EPA’s approval, EPA must promulgate a federal implementation plan (FIP). This article covers the regulatory development of this program and the litigation that has helped shape the program. It discusses the efforts to protect the visibility in the Grand Canyon National Park. It discusses the State of Utah’s efforts to comply with the CAA’s visibility requirements. It concludes with a discussion of the many obstacles that make the achievement of the visibility goals problematic. This article was written in December 2017. It was accepted for publication by the George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law in January 2018 for publication in the summer of 2018, volume 9. The article was updated in the spring of 2018 and again in the summer of 2018. As of the end of July 2019, it has not yet been published.
Reitze, Arnold W. Jr., "Visibility Protection Under the Clean Air Act" (2019). Utah Law Faculty Scholarship. 168.