Show/Hide

News List

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

USEPA to Extend Deadline for 2015 Ozone NAAQS Area Designations.

Post Date:07/05/2017 1:04 PM

 2017.02.21-pruitt-green-room-event_020 

USEPA to Extend Deadline for 2015 Ozone NAAQS Area Designations.

On June 6, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to governors today to inform them of USEPA’s efforts related to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone promulgated in October 2015.  The federal agency is extending the deadline for promulgating initial area designations, by one year, for the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

“States have made tremendous progress and significant investment cleaning up the air. We will continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The NAAQS for ground-level ozone is an outdoor air regulation under the Clean Air Act.  As part of the process to determine what areas of the country are able to meet current air quality standards, states are currently submitting their proposals for area designations under the 70 parts per billion (ppb) standard, which was lowerd from 75 ppb in 2015.   Areas designated as being in “nonattainment” of the standard face consequences, including: increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses.

USEPA is giving states more time to develop air quality plans and looking at providing greater flexibility to states as they develop their plans. Pursuant to the language in the recently-enacted FY2017 Omnibus funding bill, Administrator Pruitt is also establishing an Ozone Cooperative Compliance Task Force to develop additional flexibilities for states to comply with the ozone standard.

Additionally, the Agency is taking time to better understand several lingering, issues so that air attainment decisions can be based on the latest and greatest information.  This additional time will also provide the agency time to review the 2015 ozone NAAQS, prior to taking this initial implementation step.

Although the new ozone standard was set on October 1, 2015, there remains a host of complex issues that could undermine associated compliance efforts by states and localities.  The Agency is evaluating these issues, primarily focused on:

  • Fully understanding the role of background ozone levels.
  • Appropriately accounting for international transport.
  • Timely consideration of exceptional events demonstrations.

Since 1980, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants have dropped by 63 percent and ozone levels have declined by 33 percent. Despite the continued improvement of air quality, costs associated with compliance of the ozone NAAQS have significantly increased.

 

Read the letter sent to governors: https://www.epa.gov/ozone-designations/administrator-extends-deadline-area-designations-2015-ozone-standards

 

Visit ozone designations page:  https://www.epa.gov/ozone-designations