Air quality is important to Southeast Michigan's quality of life. As the designated local air-quality planning agency under the federal Clean Air Act, SEMCOG works with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to develop plans and programs that comply with federal Clean Air Act standards. Efforts are geared toward improving the quality of life in Southeast Michigan by attaining and maintaining air quality standards in a cost-effective manner.
Regional Air Quality Efforts
As part of our on-going effort to attain the national fine particulate (PM2.5) standards, SEMCOG recently sponsored an extensive study to identify the characteristics of high-PM2.5 days in Southeast Michigan. The results of this study are available in the October 1, 2008 report, A Conceptual Model For Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Over Southeast Michigan: High Concentration Days, by Jay Turner of Washington University in St. Louis.
In the summer of 2007, SEMCOG conducted a pilot program aimed to reducing emissions from high-polluting vehicles through the use of remote sensing technology and increased public awareness. Read about the findings of this program in the SEMCOG report, Passenger Vehicles and Air Pollution: A Profile of Southeast Michigan’s Fleet.
The Clean Air Act requires that SEMCOG’s long-range transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program conform to the requirements and pollution budgets in the State Implementation Plan. SEMCOG is responsible for ensuring this conformity is demonstrated.
Designations in Southeast Michigan
Information on the current federal ozone, fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide air quality designations in the region.
Emissions Inventory Development
In support of transportation, and air quality planning activities, SEMCOG develops emissions inventories for on-road mobile sources (cars and trucks). Data from SEMCOG’s travel model as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) MOVES model are used in this process.
State Implementation Plan Development
The Clean Air Act requires each state to have a State Implementation Plan (SIP). A SIP is a collection of the regulations and programs a state uses to attain and/or maintain federal air quality standards. SEMCOG collaborates with the MDEQ's Air Quality Division on the work needed to prepare and/or update a SIP. Examples of this work include evaluating the effectiveness of potential control measures, development of air quality attainment strategies, and coordination of Southeast Michigan’s air quality technical advisory group, which provides critical expertise on the science driving our air quality.
SEMCOG provides input on State and federal initiatives to address air toxics in Southeast Michigan, including MDEQ’s Detroit Air Toxics Initiative and EPA’s Mobile Source Air Toxics Near Roadway study. SEMCOG also monitors proposed federal and state requirements to assess their impact on the region.
Through the Ozone Action program, SEMCOG is working to keep the air clean in Southeast Michigan. Ozone Action days are called when weather conditions are expected to combine with pollution to create elevated amounts of ground-level ozone, a threat to human health and the environment.