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Ground-level Ozone

Fact Sheet - Managing Ozone Air Quality: Findings on Meeting Basic Program Requirements for State Implementation Plans

ACTION

  • On March 17, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a Federal Register notice making "completeness" findings for all states and territories (hereafter "states"). These findings pertain to the "infrastructure" requirements that all states must have in their regulatory plans to attain, maintain, and enforce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone. These plans, known as "state implementation plans" or "SIPs" must include the basic program requirements for managing ozone air quality required in section 110(a)(2) of the Clean Air Act.
  • This notice identifies states that have : 
    • failed to make a submission; 
    • made a submission that does not meet one or more of the required elements; and
    • made a complete submission. 
  • The Clean Air Act requires states to submit SIPs that implement, maintain, and enforce a new or revised national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) within 3 years of EPA issuing the standard. These SIP revisions must address a number of basic requirements, including:
    • ambient air quality monitoring and data systems,
    • programs for enforcement of control measures, and
    • adequate resources to implement the plan
  • For those states that have yet to make a submission, or that have made a submission that is incomplete with respect to particular SIP elements, EPA is making a "finding of failure to submit." This finding initiates a 2-year deadline for EPA to issue a "Federal Implementation Plan" or "FIP." The FIP will provide the basic program requirements for each state that has not completed an approved plan.
  • For those states that have SIPs that are incomplete only with respect to specific SIP elements, the FIP pertains only to those elements. The state must make a submission, and EPA must approve it, in order to turn off the FIP clock. This finding does not initiate sanctions.
  • For those states that have made submissions that address all of the elements fully or partially, EPA is making a finding that those SIPS are "complete" for the whole plan or the complete elements, as applicable. This finding initiates a 1-year deadline for EPA to take action on the submissions pursuant to section 110(k) -- requiring EPA to approve or disapprove the documents within one year.
  • In March 2004, Earth-Justice initiated a lawsuit against EPA because the agency had not taken action against the states for failure to make the required submissions. In a Consent Decree with Earth Justice, EPA agreed to determine by December 15, 2007, whether each state had made a "complete" submission to meet the requirements of the ozone standard by December 15, 2007. This date was later extended to March 17, 2008. In addition, Earth Justice agreed to allow EPA to make these determinations based upon submissions up until January 7, 2008.

STATUS OF STATE PLANS

  • The following 13 states/territories failed to make submissions to satisfy the basic program requirements for managing ozone air quality:
    • Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington
  • The following 21 states/district made submissions that satisfy some, but not all of the basic program requirements for managing ozone air quality:
    • Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia
  • The following 22 States made submissions that satisfy the basic program requirements for managing ozone air quality:
    • Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

BACKGROUND

  • On July 17, 1997, following a lengthy scientific review process, EPA issued 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards.
  • States were required to submit SIPs that satisfied the basic Clean Air Act infrastructure requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for implementing the 1997 standards by July 2000.
  • Ozone is rarely emitted directly into the air. Ozone is generally formed when oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the presence of intense sunlight. NOx and VOCs are emitted by sources of combustion including motor vehicles, and industrial facilities, also, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents and natural sources.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

  • For further information concerning this action, contact Mr. Larry D. Wallace, Ph.D., of EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at (919) 541-0906.

 

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