Under the Clean Air Act the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has promulgated regulations designed to improve visibility in our nation's largest national parks and wildernesses (Class I areas). The Regional Haze Rule is found in 40 CFR part 51.308.
Minnesota has two Class I areas - the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park. In addition, emissions from Minnesota contribute to visibility impairment in Michigan's Isle Royale National Park.
States are responsible for developing a Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) that identifies sources that cause or contribute to visibility impairment, includes control strategies for those sources and Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) determinations for certain older emission sources, and makes a demonstration of reasonable progress toward reaching visibility goals.
The Minnesota Regional Haze SIP was submitted to U.S. EPA on December 30, 2009. A Supplemental SIP containing additional information was submitted to the EPA on May 8, 2012.
This photo shows the view from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness visibility monitor. The left side illustrates visibility conditions on average for the 20 percent best days. The right side shows what the view looks like on average on the 20 percent worst days in BWCA as a result of higher levels of fine particles. View current conditions in the BWCA.
The MPCA submitted its Five-Year Regional Haze Progress Report SIP Revision in December 2014. The progress report outlines the status of required Regional Haze SIP elements and documents Minnesota’s determination that its current Regional Haze SIP is adequate and requires no further substantive revision to achieve 2018 visibility goals.
In order to complete the Regional Haze SIP process, the MPCA has prepared a Supplemental Regional Haze SIP which was submitted to the EPA in May 2012.
- Minnesota's Supplemental Regional Haze SIP
- Public Notice, Comments and Responses on Supplemental Regional Haze SIP
Below are several documents that make up Minnesota's original Regional Haze SIP submittal, as sent to EPA in December 2009. The documents are divided into smaller files for easier downloading.
- Minnesota's Regional Haze SIP
- Appendices to Regional Haze SIP, Part 1 (Chapters 1-7)
- Appendices to Regional Haze SIP, Part 2 (Chapters 8-10)
- Modeling Technical Support Document (TSD)
The Regional Haze SIP includes a concept plan focusing on major sources in Northeast Minnesota as one part of its long term strategy for improving visibility. As part of the Northeast Minnesota Plan, the MPCA has committed to annually tracking emissions from subject sources.
Stakeholder and Public Meetings
- October 4, 2005:
- January 31, 2007:
- May 15, 2007:
- Haze Technical Work Update
- Setting RPG and Analyzing Control Strategies
- Update on BART
- BWCAW History and Mission - Trent Wickman and Chris Holbeck
- Voyageurs National Park History and Mission - Chris Holbeck
- Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness - Carolyn Sampson
- Voyageurs National Park Association - Cory MacNulty
- LTS and Concept Plan for NE Minnesota
- April 10, 2008: Regional Haze SIP Public Meeting
- Appendix Y to 40 CFR part 51 U.S. EPA's Guidelines for BART Determinations Under the Regional Haze Rule
- Proposed Best Available Retrofit Technology Strategy for Minnesota
- Response to Comments on Proposed BART Strategy for Minnesota, 12/15/05
- Identification of BART Sources in Minnesota
- The MPCA developed a list of BART-Eligible sources by mailing a Request for Information (RFI) in late July 2005 to facilities that are major sources under New Source Review. If a facility identified any BART-eligible units, they followed the instructions below and used the "BART Eligible Unit Spreadsheet" to provide information about those unit(s).
- List of BART Sources
- BART Questionnaire
- BART Eligible Unit Spreadsheet
- BART Spreadsheet Instructions
- Modeling of BART sources in Minnesota
- BART Modeling Protocol to Determine Sources Subject-to-BART in the State of Minnesota, Draft.
- Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) Modeling Protocol to Determine Sources Subject-to-BART in the State of Minnesota," Final
- MPCA response to comments on draft Best Available Retrofit Technology Modeling protocol for Minnesota
- Results of modeling to determine sources subject to BART in Minnesota
- BART Analysis Guidance for facilities
- BART Analyses Submitted by Facilities
NOTE: These BART analyses were performed by the facility and were submitted in Sept. 2006. MPCA staff have not yet assessed whether the analyses follow the BART Analysis Guidance. Modeling results are contained in the analyses, however, detailed modeling files submitted by the facility are not posted here.
- Hibbing Taconite
- Mittal Steel USA, Minorca Mine
- Northshore Mining Company- Taconite Processing
- United Taconite, LLC
- U.S. Steel Corporation, Keetac
- U.S. Steel Corporation, Minntac
- Minnesota Power, Taconite Harbor Unit 3
- Northshore Mining Company, Silver Bay Power Facility Unit 2
- Xcel Energy, Sherburne County Plant Units 1 & 2
- Revised BART Information (Fall 2008, Post-CAIR)
- Potential Impacts of the Federal Regional Haze and Best Available Retrofit Technology Rules on the Taconite Industry in Minnesota, September 2003
- Evaluation of Minnesota Taconite Wet Scrubbers at Minntac, Keewatin Taconite, Hibbing Taconite, and United Taconite
- Regional Haze Rule (40 CFR part 51.308)
- Regional Haze program (U.S. EPA)
- Regional haze - Regional Planning Organizations
- Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments