Ozone Standards Hearing August 25th

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Aug. 20, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

About two months ago, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released draft ozone standards. A public workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Air Resources Board's Monitoring & Laboratory Division, Conference Room, 1927 13th Street, Sacramento next Tuesday, August 25th. Comments are due by September 1. An Air Quality Advisory Committee peer review meeting will be scheduled in the Fall. Following that meeting, a second draft will be issued with adoption anticipated in December 2004. To review the Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/ozone-rs/ozone-rs.htm

The draft standards would be impossible to achieve. While the U.S. EPA dropped the 1-hour standard of .12 parts per million (ppm), CARB recommends keeping their 1-hour standard of .09 ppm and "upping the ante" by tightening the 8-hour standard from .08 ppm to .070 ppm. With qualifiers included, this standard actually equates to .064 ppm. This not only creates unique CA requirements, but it provides an impetus for extreme regulatory measures that cannot succeed. The entire state would be in non-attainment. Not only that, but this standard, in some cases, is below background levels. The US EPA considered adopting a .07 ppm standard and dismissed it as unachievable.

Ozone transport from the stratosphere and ozone formed in photochemical reactions of naturally occurring hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen are natural sources of background ozone. There are also contributions from man-made ozone and its precursors formed outside the U.S. and transported long range (Asia, Mexico, etc.).

CARB maintains that their standards simply define "clean air" and that they will, in and of themselves, have no economic or environmental impact. The standards represent the minimum acceptable air quality, based on health risk assessments. CARB ignores the fact that air basins and air districts are required to submit plans to meet ozone standards. They may be forced to implement increasingly extreme control measures to reach an unattainable goal. Legislation adding teeth to the standards would inevitably follow.

Adoption of such stringent standards would send a negative message to companies considering moving to California or expanding in California. CMTA opposes the draft standards.
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