EPA Moves Ahead on Implementing Ozone Air Quality Standards

Forty-five areas across the country got some bad news from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today when it released information about what parts of the country are not meeting the 2008 air quality standards for ground-level ozone (i.e. ozone NAAQS). The map below shows the regions that are considered “non-attainment” areas:

Getting slapped with a non-attainment designation is a big deal for the geographic regions highlighted on the map. Just a few of the economic consequences of being a non-attainment area include:

  • Restrictive permitting requirements for new industrial facilities or for existing facilities that make major modifications.
  • Greater EPA involvement and oversight in permit decisions and continuing oversight by the Agency in permitting decisions even after the area has met the air quality standards.
  • Loss of federal highway and transit funding – beginning one year from the date of the designation, federally-supported highway and transit projects cannot proceed in the area unless the state can demonstrate that the project will cause no increase in ozone emissions.
  • Loss of industry and economic development in the area – any company interested in building a facility that emits ozone will probably not build a facility in the area due to the increased costs associated with the restrictive and expensive permit requirements.

Manufacturers continue to be extremely concerned about the EPA’s implementation of the current air quality standards and new standards for particulate matter (i.e. PM2.5) which are scheduled to be proposed in the next few months. As our nations job creators try to get our economy back on track, stringent air quality regulations and standards continually work to derail their progress.

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