Introduction to the Louisiana SIP

This page provides general information about State Implementation Plans (SIPs). The Louisiana SIP, like that of all states, is required by federal law:

What is a SIP?

A State Implementation Plan (SIP) is an enforceable plan developed at the state level that explains how the state will comply with air quality standards according to the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA). A SIP must be submitted by the state government of any state that has areas that are designated in nonattainment of Federal air quality standards. In order to understand SIPs, you should understand the role of the following:
  • Federal Clean Air Act
The federal (CAA) is the legal foundation for the national air pollution control program. The CAA requires each state to produce and regularly update a SIP. The CAA also requires that SIPs include a description of control strategies, or measures to deal with pollution, for areas that fail to achieve the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). Finally, the CAA grants powers of enforcement to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Environmental Protection Agency
The CAA grants the EPA power to establish national air quality standards, to approve or reject SIPs, to replace SIPs with Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) when deemed necessary, and to monitor achievement of goals laid out in SIPs and FIPs.
  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards 

NAAQS are established by the EPA as directed by the Federal CAA. These standards measure six outdoor air pollutants:

These "criteria pollutants" are commonly occurring air pollutants that can injure health, harm the environment and cause property damage. The NAAQS set nationally acceptable levels of concentrations of these pollutants. Since SIP revisions are mandatory in nonattainment areas, or areas that fail to meet (or attain) the NAAQS, the need for SIP revisions is based on NAAQS.

Why do we prepare SIPs?

There are numerous reasons why SIPs are necessary and important.
  • SIPs protect our air: SIPs play a key role in attaining good air quality and protecting citizen's health.
  • SIPs are required by law: The Federal CAA requires states with areas failing to meet NAAQS to produce a SIP.
  • Failure to produce a SIP has consequences: If a state fails to submit or implement a SIP, or if it submits a SIP that is unacceptable to the EPA, the EPA has the power to impose sanctions or other penalties on that state. Typical sanctions include cutting off Federal highway funds and setting more stringent pollution offsets for certain emitters. Offsets are the reduction of current emissions at a rate equal to or greater than the amount of emissions expected to be produced in a new project.

How do SIPs affect me?

Louisiana's SIP affects you in numerous ways.
  • As an individual
    • Protect your health: SIPs aim to implement air quality standards, which are created to protect human health, including your health. Therefore, SIPs aim to improve air quality to a degree that is beneficial for the health and well-being of you and your family.
    • Regulations: Rules set requirements that may affect your everyday life. In some cases, rules may place restrictions on you by creating requirements that may affect the operation, design and emissions level of your property (i.e. your motor vehicle). In other cases rules may offer you incentives to choose technologies that further the SIP's goal.
  • As a business
    • Regulations: Rules set requirements that may apply to your industry. Regulations may place restrictions on activities and equipment used in your business that affect quality levels. Other regulations may provide incentives that your firm may be able to take advantage of.

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