Mike Rogge

8-Hour ozone standard reduced by U.S. EPA

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Oct. 23, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In late November of 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to drop the National Ambient Air Quality Standard’s (NAAQS) allowable 8-hour ozone level from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65-70 ppb and announced that they would be taking comments on potentially reducing it even further to 60 ppb. CMTA testified before the U.S. EPA in February of this year and again in June against making further reductions. Forty percent of the U.S. population lives in areas that do not even meet the current 75 ppb standard.

CMTA argued that it made more sense to bring America into compliance with the existing standard before tightening it further. The current ozone standard of 75 ppb is the most stringent ever and has not been fully implemented in Southern California and throughout the Central Valley, but progress continues to be made.

This proposal would unnecessarily burden the economy at a time when the country and California, in particular, are finally starting to recover from the recession. A substantial portion of compliance with a new standard would come from controls that are unknown, even to the U.S. EPA, and if these controls are not invented in time, manufacturers would be forced to consider scrapping plants and equipment.

On October 1, the U.S. EPA announced that they were reducing the standard to 70ppb. This action will place an additional 13 California counties in non-attainment: Plumas, Tehama, Sutter, Tuolumne, Yuba, Calaveras, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin. It will be much more difficult for these counties to attract new industry and for existing industry to expand.

Environmentalists had urged the agency to tighten the NAAQS down to 60 ppb, and ahead of the final rule had suggested that they might sue the U.S. EPA if it were to finalize a 70 ppb limit. 

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