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North Dakota's regional haze plan finalized

The plan aims to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.

North Dakota’s Regional Haze plan is updated every ten years, and the Director of the state Department of Environmental Quality says the latest regulations went into effect earlier this month.

David Glatt says North Dakota continues to be one of only a few states that meet or exceed all federal air quality standards to protect National Parks and wilderness areas. He says the regional haze plan aims to control emissions enough to get these areas back to “natural visibility with no man-made impacts” by the year 2064.

Glatt says some of North Dakota’s economy presents challenges to that. He says they’ve been working with the state’s coal fired power plants, and oil and gas industries to make improvements. But he says overall, air quality in North Dakota is pretty good.

"What we did is we looked at what were the potential sources, and potential controls, and we did computer modeling to see whether or not that would have an impact on visibility. And what we found is that we could put on pretty significant controls on our power plants, or even on our oil and gas, and we would not be able to see an improvement at all. So what we decided on this go around, is that we made good improvements this round. This next round we're going to sit and watch to see how things occur in the next ten years. And if we need additional controls within the next ten years, then we'll do that."

Glatt says he is confident North Dakota’s current regional haze plan will ensure the state remains on a good path to improve visibility and air quality.