Countdown to Ozone NAAQS
Posted: May 20th, 2014Author: All4 Staff
On April 29, 2014 Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the Sierra Club’s request to force U.S. EPA to propose revisions to its ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) by December 2014 and issue a final rule by October 1, 2015. U.S. EPA had requested the six week extension to allow for additional time to create a secondary ozone standard. The April 29th ruling states that U.S. EPA must stay on schedule in proposing primary and secondary ozone standards. U.S. EPA last reviewed the ozone standard in 2008, decreasing the standard to 75 parts per billion (ppb).
Many believe that the new NAAQS will be within the 60 to 70 ppb range based on previous recommendations from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and recent U.S. EPA agency staff policy reviews. Those opposing the standard falling within the more stringent range believe that the cost associated with meeting the standard may be insurmountable given the current background ozone concentrations being measured by ambient monitors, many of which fall within the proposed ozone NAAQS range. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a vocal opponent of lowering the ozone NAAQS, researched the impacts of tightening the standard. The NAM ozone regulation website illustrates regions of the United States, whose manufacturing growth would be hampered by more stringent ozone limits. Industries looking to expand in these areas would be faced with more burdensome permitting requirements associated with permitting in NAAQS nonattainment areas, and the potential of installing costly add-on controls.
Please note that the U.S. EPA’s most recent scientific reviews of the of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) resulted in short-term NAAQS (i.e., 1-hour) that can limit the ability of industry to expand and to implement projects that promote growth and that are environmentally sound. ALL4 therefore encourages the preparation and submittal of comments to U.S. EPA objecting to further tightening of the ozone NAAQS. Because the proposed ozone NAAQS will have a similar impact and is not likely to be reversed, it will be critical for U.S. EPA to receive thorough science-based comments in objection to the proposed standard.