SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
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Air Quality


South Dakota’s Regional Haze Program


                               © 2008 Rikk Flohr

What is Regional Haze?

Regional haze is visibility impairment caused by air pollution in the form of small particles scattering or absorbing light. Air pollution that impairs visibility is generated over a wide geographic area stemming from a variety of natural (nonanthropogenic) and manmade (anthropogenic) sources. Natural sources can include windblown dust and smoke from wildfires. Manmade sources can include motor vehicles, fuel burning equipment, and manufacturing operations. Some particles are directly emitted into the air, while others are formed when gases emitted into the air form particles as they are carried many miles from the source of the pollutants.

The composition of visibility impairing particulates is very complex. Some particles are emitted directly from nonanthropogenic and anthropogenic sources into the air, while others form as a result of mixing and oxidizing of gases in the atmosphere. In addition, meteorological forces play a strong role in the dynamics of particulate movement, composition, and visibility impacts. 

Background on Regional Haze

EPA promulgated the regional haze rule on July 1, 1999. EPA’s rule requires states to “establish goals (expressed in deciviews) that provide for reasonable progress towards achieving natural visibility conditions” for each Class I area within a state by 2064. The reasonable progress goals must provide for an improvement in visibility for the most impaired days over the period of the implementation plan and ensure no degradation in visibility for the least impaired days over the same period. South Dakota has two Class I areas within its borders; Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park.  

South Dakota’s Regional Haze Program

South Dakota submitted its Regional Haze Program to EPA for approval in January 2011. South Dakota’s Regional Haze Program was approved by EPA on April 26, 2012, in the federal register notice. South Dakota’s package to EPA consisted of the following:

EPA's Federal Register Notice :

Future Regional Haze Program Projects

5 Year Progress Report

DENR is required to report every five years on the progress of its approved Regional Haze Program. South Dakota’s first progress report is due to EPA by January 21, 2016.  Click Here to view the 5 year progress report.

Ten Year Progress Report

The federal Regional Haze rules requires each state to conduct a full update of its Regional Haze Program every ten years; the first ten year update occurring in 2018. DENR is currently working on the ten year progress report and will include updates as they are drafted.

Smoke Management Plan

South Dakotas’ approved Regional Haze Program commits to developing a Smoke Management Plan as part of a long-term strategy to minimize the impact of prescribed fires on Class I areas. Currently, DENR is reviewing the contribution to regional haze past prescribed burns and  wildfires have had on South Dakota’s two Class I areas. This analysis will help determine the area the Smoke Management Plan will cover.

The next step will be to work with state, federal, local, and tribal governmental agencies and the public to determine the best management practices for conducting prescribed fires in order to reduce their impact on Class I areas.

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