Introducing the Real World to the Ozone Debate

By May 28, 2008Energy, Infrastructure

From the Clarksville, Tenn., newspaper, The Leaf-Chronicle, comes a report of the problems that the EPA’s more stringent ozone rules will cause local governments and taxpayers…and commuters, and manufacturers, and pretty much everbody. A good story about how after working toward compliance, the county could again become non-compliant, and noting the impact on infrastructure projects, too. From “City Could Fail EPA Standards.

Clarksville will be judged on the new standards when the state reports its scores to the EPA in the summer of 2009. The EPA will then report in 2010 — based on three years of air quality data — who passed and who failed.

And if Clarksville fails?

“You jeopardize your federal highway funds for road projects,” Williams said.

Williams calls it a Catch-22, as those federal funds are used on road projects that relieve congestion, and fewer idling cars means cleaner air.

As an example, Williams said four local intersections are on target for remodeling this year to to increase traffic flow using federal CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) funds. If the city was not meeting the EPA’s air-quality standards, a position known as “nonattainment,” such construction would not be possible.

And in Utah…

Under this “8-hour standard,” areas that have ozone concentrations higher than 75 ppb too often must look for new ways to cut ozone pollution.

The old standard was 80 ppb, and all Utah communities barely met it. The new limits are expected to pose big challenges for Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Box Elder, Tooele and Utah counties and more than 300 other U.S. counties.

Pro-regulation advocates among environmental and public health groups are suing the EPA, arguing the restrictions should be tougher.

So more people can pay the price of being out of compliance.

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