Air Quality

Mission Statement

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe Air Quality Program is dedicated to Protecting, Preserving, and Enhancing the Culture and Environmental Resources of our Tribal Lands and air shed.

Real-Time Air Monitoring

Use the resource below to check the current air quality index:

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality – Real-Time Air Monitoring

Summary of the Air Quality Program 2021-22

The Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe has sovereign authority on a reservation covering 345,000 acres of mountains, lakes, timber and farmland, spanning the western edge of the northern Rocky Mountains and the abundant Palouse country located in the panhandle of northern Idaho.  Kootenai and Benewah Counties are located within the exterior boundaries of the tribal reservation and there are four main populated areas (Plummer, Worley, DeSmet, and St. Maries).  The Tribe has a government based on executive, legislative and judicial branches.  The tribal council has seven members and operates on a parliamentary system, with members elected by tribal vote and the Chairman elected by vote on the council.

There are a few unique local air quality concerns.  One, which affects all areas but is seasonal, is the practice of agricultural burning and forestry prescribed (or slash) burning.  Another is the emission from a co-generation lumber mill located in Plummer and a lumber mill located in St. Maries. Some minor concerns are resident related such as open burning and woodstove usage and wildfire smoke along with minor sources like monitoring Gas Stations emissions currently under FARR registration.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality program has conducted air sampling for PM2.5 since 1996 starting under a 103 grant from EPA until 2007 then under EPA protocol advanced to 105 grant statuses obtaining Treatment as State (TAS) for Air Quality that we are operating under currently.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) and its amendments provide the framework for protecting air quality.  It requires EPA to set national air quality standards for certain pollutants and it requires EPA to develop programs to address specific air quality problems.  The CAA also establishes EPA’s enforcement authority and provides for air quality research with reservation concerns.

An air quality goal of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe is to maintain an air quality monitoring network. The Tribe’s ambient air quality monitoring station is located in an area where elevated pollutant concentrations are suspected, or known.  Meteorological stations are often part of air quality monitoring sites and in 2003 the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program constructed a Campbell Scientific Model UT30 10 meter meteorological station for collecting weather data plus the installation of a new Met-One BAM 1022 continuous monitor and it is used to provide data to the Tribal Smoke Management Program, EPA and Air Quality Alerts sent out to the public that are triggered by the AQI system.

The Tribe and the State of Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) each desire to cooperate with the monitoring of ambient air for criteria pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5) and other air quality parameters in the portions of Kootenai and Benewah Counties that are within the exterior boundaries of the reservation.  The Tribe and IDEQ have continued their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) relating to air quality monitoring.  Currently, the Tribal Air Quality Program is providing real-time particulate matter (PM2.5) data from its monitoring site to IDEQ for posting on their website and this allows the public access to easily-retrievable data information.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program operates under an EPA approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) since January 28, 2004.  The QAPP serves as a reference document for implementing the QA program and provides detailed operational procedures for measurement processes used by the tribe.  Acceptable quality assurance procedures are necessary to provide data that meets the basic objectives and minimizes the loss of data.  Data obtained are submitted to the EPA’s Aerometric Information Retrieval System-Air Quality System (AIRS-AQS).  This database provides widespread access to accurate information.  The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program has been submitting data to this database since August 24, 2004.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been granted Partial Delegation of Administrative Authority with EPA.  This will allow EPA to delegate authority to the Tribe to administer one or more of the FARR rules on the reservation under a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP).  This will not delegate any enforcement authority to the Tribe, as that will remain with EPA.  This process will provide the Tribe with experience assisting EPA in implementing air quality regulations and also provides valuable insight to the process and potential of developing its own regulatory program.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality program adopted three rules through the Delegation process, the first being Section 49.124 Rule for Limiting Visible Emissions. The second is Section 49.131 the General Rules for Open Burning and the third is Section 49.137 that is Rule for Air Pollution Episodes.  The purpose of the FIP is to ensure that the NAAQS are attained and maintained.  The FIP will allow the tribe to play a more active role in managing tribal air resources and protecting the community’s health. With the FIP development process, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe will be able to determine which rules best address reservation needs with the capability to administer, and the best regulatory approach.

In December 2007 Lester Higgins as Air Quality Manager received Federal EPA Inspector Credentials and entered into an EPA Inspector Credential Authorization Agreement submitting the Inspection Plan for the Coeur d’Alene Reservation.  This work plan lays out the objectives for work to be completed under EPA authority allowing the tribe to conduct annual inspections at sources operating under EPA permit process.

The Air Quality office is located in the Natural Resources Building 402 Anne Antelope Rd in Plummer Idaho Office #15