Identification of Candidate Clean Air Corridors for the Colorado Plateau

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Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association



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The U.S. Clean Air Act, amended in 1990, mandated the establishment of the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission (GCVTC). The commission is required to submit a report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency addressing visibility issues in the region, including ''the establishment of clean air corridors, in which additional restrictions on increases in emissions may be appropriate to protect visibility in affected Class I areas.'' This paper presents a methodology to identify candidate geographic areas for consideration for Clean Air Corridor (CAC) status for Colorado Plateau Class I areas. The methodology uses thousands of model determined trajectories over a five year pe riod (1988 to 1992) to indicate the paths taken by air that arrives during clean air conditions at Class I areas. These clean air back-trajectories identify upwind areas where pollution emissions could jeopardize currently pristine visibility. Using this methodology, six candidate areas are identified, ranging in size from 75,000 to 506,000 square miles, and permitting varying levels of visibility protection for clean air days at Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, and Petrified Forest National Parks. Assuming effective emissions management of the CAC, the larger the CAC, the greater the visibility protection during clean air conditions.

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