|The Planning Section of the Division of Air Quality oversees several important air quality programs for the division. Planning develops emissions inventories for all sources that emit air pollutants, and performs computer modeling and analyses to determine how to attain air quality standards. Planning works with the Legislature and Environmental Management Commission to develop rules, regulations and programs for meeting air quality standards. Planning also coordinates the N.C. Air Awareness Program, which educates and informs the public about air pollution, its causes and effects, and prevention methods.
The section is comprised of three branches:
Attainment Planning Branch
The Attainment Planning Branch conducts analyses to assure that State air quality control strategies protect public health and welfare. These analyses include the development of emission inventories for stationary point and area nonpoint sources, highway and non-highway mobile sources and biogenic sources. To ensure that the State maintains the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the Branch utilizes photochemical grid modeling to determine what areas of the State has the potential to develop air quality issues and analyze which air quality control strategies and rules may be needed to attain and maintain the NAAQS. The Branch recommends boundaries for nonattainment designation and submits State Implementation Plans to the U.S. EPA. The Branch also provides daily air quality forecasts for the State's most populated areas by informing citizens about unhealthy levels of ozone and particulate matter.
Rules Development Branch
The Rules Development Branch develops and coordinates the adoption of state air quality control regulations to meet the Federal Clean Air Act requirements, as well as develop air quality regulations needed to maintain the NAAQS throughout the state. The Branch also develops and coordinates the adoption of North carolina specific air quality rules as authorized by the General Statutes.
Allied Programs Branch
The Allied Programs Branch coordinates several key programs within the Planning Section. The Branch oversees the N.C. Air Awareness Program which is a public outreach and education program designed to reduce air pollution though voluntary actions by individuals and organizations. The Branch also operates the Emissions Inventories Program which coordinates the collection of air emissions data from over 2500 permitted facilities and submits them to the U.S. EPA to develop national inventories. The Energy Efficiency and Energy Assessment Program provides ways in which companies can reduce energy consumption, save money and reduce pollution by conducting an energy assessment. The Allied Programs Branch also provides planning support for Implementation of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollution (NESHAPs) rules; and tracks NC Legislation related to air quality.