The Strategic Toxic Air Reduction Program (STAR) is a regulatory program to reduce harmful contaminants in the air we breathe, to better protect the health of our citizens, and enhance the quality of life. Since the Air Pollution Control District first implemented STAR in 2005, emissions of toxic chemicals have dropped almost 70 percent in Louisville/Jefferson County.
Why do we need STAR?
The program was created in response to several studies which showed that Louisville had unacceptably high levels of toxic chemicals in the air, particularly in the neighborhoods around a cluster of chemical plants known as Rubbertown. A monitoring study in 2000-01 documented that there were high concentrations of harmful air toxics, including cancer-causing chemicals, in specific neighborhoods. A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which included modeling of reported emissions, concluded that our air had the highest potential risk for adverse effects of all of the counties in the eight southeastern states.
The threat to public health from toxic air contaminants was deemed sufficient to warrant action on the part of local government. The STAR Program is our community’s response to these disturbing findings and commitment to improve our air quality.
Reductions in local toxic air emissions, 2004-2016
What does STAR do?
There are three main components to the STAR Program:
- It lists toxic air contaminants (TACs), establishes a framework for estimating risks and generally prohibits emitting TACs in a harmful amount or duration. (Regulations 5.01 and 5.23.)
- It requires companies that emit the largest amounts of chemicals to determine through modeling whether they are exceeding the health risk goal for each of the targeted chemicals. It requires companies that exceed the goal to present a plan to reduce emissions and reach the goal over the next six years. (Regulations 5.21, 5.20 and 5.22.)
See Large Point Sources and the STAR Program and Technical Documents and Resources for STAR-Regulated Facilities.
- It requires the APCD to develop a plan of action to reduce emissions from other sources with the help of interested stakeholders in the community. See Regulation 5.30 Executive Summary and Regulation 5.30 Technical Info.