To meet these challenges and remedy current limitations, the committee identified a set of overarching long-term objectives that should guide future improvement of the AQM system. In the committee’s view, AQM should

  • Strive to identify and assess more clearly the most significant exposures, risks, and uncertainties.

  • Strive to take an integrated multipollutant approach to controlling emissions of pollutants posing the most significant risks.

  • Strive to take an airshed3-based approach by assessing and controlling emissions of important pollutants arising from local, multistate, national, and international sources.

  • Strive to emphasize results over process, create accountability for the results, and dynamically adjust and correct the system as data on progress are assessed.

Immediate attainment of these objectives is unrealistic. It would require a level of scientific understanding that has yet to be developed, a commitment of new resources that would be difficult to obtain in the short term, and a rapid transformation of the AQM system that is undesirable in light of the system’s past successes. The committee proposes, therefore, that the AQM system be enhanced so that it steadily evolves toward meeting these objectives. In that spirit, the committee makes five interrelated recommendations to be implemented through specific actions:

  1. Strengthen the scientific and technical capacity of the AQM system to assess risk and track progress. Recommended actions include enhancing assessments of air quality and health, ecosystem monitoring, emissions tracking, exposure assessment (both outdoors and indoors), and other components of the scientific and technical foundation of AQM.

  2. Expand national and multistate performance-oriented control strategies to support local, state, and tribal efforts. Recommended actions include controlling currently unregulated and underregulated sources; expanding use of performance-oriented, market-based (where appropriate) multipollutant control strategies; and enhancing authority to identify and address multistate and international air pollutant transport.

  3. Transform the SIP process into a more dynamic and collaborative performance-oriented, multipollutant air quality management plan (AQMP)


Airshed is used here to denote the broader geographic extent of the emissions that contribute to the deleterious effects of a pollutant in a given location.

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