After the APCD and Mayor Jerry Abramson proposed the STAR Program in September 2004, the APCD conducted more than 60 public meetings with approximately 1,300 people and responded to hundreds of questions from stakeholders. The final proposal included scores of changes recommended by citizens, company representatives, health advocates and neighborhood groups.
The STAR Program is implemented by a set of regulations adopted by the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control Board June 21, 2005. “Citizens will be able to breathe easier because of these reasonable, responsible improvements,” said Mayor Abramson at the time. “Additionally, other cities won’t be able to use Louisville’s high air toxic risks against us in the competition for jobs and companies.” Since then, the Board has occasionally amended the regulations to improve the program. The regulations focus first on reducing the levels of 18 toxic chemicals that have been proven through extensive air monitoring to exceed the federal health risk goal – a 1 in 1 million risk of developing cancer from lifetime exposure.
The STAR Program provides a regulatory framework for assessing and addressing toxic air emissions and improving air quality. There are three key components of the STAR Program to address different categories of sources contributing to toxic air pollution. The first component of the STAR Program establishes the overall framework and methodologies for determining risk from toxic air contaminants (TACs) and a general duty not to emit a TAC in a quantity or duration that is harmful to the health and welfare of humans, animals, and plants.
Large and moderate industrial and commercial operations are responsible for the largest, single-source emissions of most toxic air pollutants. These emissions come from process stacks, general building ventilation systems, and fugitive sources of outdoor equipment. These stationary, non-mobile operations are likely the cause of the highest risks in the vicinity of the companies. Regulating these operations is the second component of the STAR Program, under Regulation 5.21 Environmental Acceptability for Toxic Air Contaminants and other regulations. This aspect of the STAR Program primarily affects 170 companies of Louisville’s 32,000 businesses.
The third component of the STAR Program, Regulation 5.30 Report and Plan of Action for Identified Source Sectors, was adopted in recognition that large and moderate industrial and commercial operations are not the only sources of toxic air pollution. Regulation 5.30 covers the myriad of smaller sources of air toxics emissions. There are smaller industrial and commercial operations, like auto body repair shops and perchloroethylene dry cleaners. The pollution from cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles as well as from non-road engines, such as construction equipment, watercraft, locomotives, and aircraft, also contributes significantly to Louisville’s air toxics problem. Additionally, there are aspects of citizens’ everyday lives, such as mowing the lawn, automobile choice, or driving patterns, which have an impact on air quality.
These 18 chemicals were found to exceed the health risk goal through monitoring by the West Jefferson County Community Task Force:
|1,3 Butadiene||Methyl Chloride|
These 20 chemicals are the remaining most-toxic chemicals that Louisville companies release based on their reporting to the U.S. EPA:
|Antimony & its compounds||Lead compounds|
|Boron trifluoride||Manganese & its compounds|
|Cobalt & its compounds||Sulfuric acid|
|Copper & its compounds||Toluene|
|Diisocyanates||1,2,4 Trimethylbenzene (cumene)|
|Glycol ethers||Xylene (mixed isomers)|