EPA extends deadline for 2015 ozone air quality standards area designations

Published on June 08, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to governors Tuesday informing them the deadline for area designations for the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) has been extended.

As part of the NAAQS for ground-level ozone is an outdoor air regulation under the Clean Air Act, states must submit proposals for area designations in order to determine what areas meet the air quality standards. Areas designated as being in “nonattainment” face potential increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment and increased costs to businesses.

The current standard is 70 parts per billion (ppb), which was lowered from 75 ppb in 2015.

The EPA extended the deadline by one year.

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

Pruitt has also established an Ozone Cooperative Compliance Task Force to “develop additional flexibilities for states to comply with the ozone standard.” The EPA has also said it is taking additional time to study issues including the role of background ozone levels, issues with accounting for international transport and timely consideration of exceptional events demonstrations. The agency will use this time to review the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

“We share the goal of clean air, a robust economy and stronger, healthier communities,” Pruitt said. “We are committed to working with states and local officials to effectively implement the ozone standard in a manner that is supportive of air quality improvement efforts without interfering with local decisions or impeding economic growth.”