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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Ozone Air Quality Programs

8-hour Ozone Flex
8-hour Ozone Compact

8-Hour Ozone (O3) Flex Program

The 8-Hour Ozone Flex (8-O3 Flex) Air Program is a voluntary approach to maintain attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level Ozone. It requires that a candidate city, county, or area develop a formal agreement to conduct emissions inventories and implement voluntary control measures to effect air quality improvements. It is designed for areas that have monitors in place and are designated as attainment for both the 1-hour and 8-hour ozone air quality standards; an area with a maintenance plan in accordance with section 175A of the Clean Air Act, for either of the ozone standards, is not eligible for this program. Implementation of voluntary control measures in the 8-O3 Flex plans will help areas to avoid violating the 8-hour ozone air quality standard, improve air quality, and provide public health benefits.

The 8-O3 Flex Program is implemented through an intergovernmental agreement between EPA, the State/Tribe, and the local community. Each area would develop a plan tailored to its needs, sign the agreement and maintain the program plan for a suggested period of 5 years. While this program is designed to help an area maintain the standard and improve air quality, it does not create or avoid regulatory requirements.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidelines supporting state, local, and tribal governments' efforts to make these voluntary, early reductions of air emissions that form ground-level ozone or smog in May 2006. The 8-Hour Ozone Flex Guidance (pdf) (19 pp, 1.1 MB, About PDF ) will encourage innovative efforts that are cost-effective, flexible, and make sense to local areas. The 8-O3 Flex Guidelines will help enable areas to continue to attain the 8-hour ozone standard.

Here in EPA Region 6 (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX), one metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has submitted a letter of intent to participate in the 8-Hour Ozone Flex Program (Corpus Christi , TX ). We anticipate that additional areas will submit letters of intent and 8-Hour Ozone Flex Agreements. We will provide information on each area's 8-Hour Ozone Flex Program below, as each area's plans are approved

8-Hour Ozone Compact Program

On June 19, 2002, EPA Regional Administrator Gregg A. Cooke endorsed an Early Action clean air program to bring clean healthier air to Texas communities faster. This early action protocol document was amended in October 2002 to reflect agreed program modifications. The 8-Hour Ozone Early Action Compact Program will allow communities an opportunity to meet the new stricter 8-hour air quality standard using locally tailored pollution controls - instead of federally mandated measures. The program is designed for areas that approach or monitor exceedances of the 8-hour standard but are in attainment for the 1-hour ozone standard.

By December 2002, participating communities made a commitment to the 8-Hour Ozone Early Action Compact Program by signing a Compact with state and federal officials. By 2004, participating cities developed a locally tailored clean air plan which met the new stricter air quality standard to take advantage of the program. Clean air plans that communities developed showed the control strategies that they would implement to reach the clean air goals by 2007 - years earlier than otherwise projected. The participating areas performed photochemical modeling which demonstrates that the selected control measures will bring the area into attainment of the 8 - hour ozone NAAQS by 2007. The plans, including additional local controls beyond federal and State requirements, would be incorporated into a SIP revision and implemented by 2005.

EPA would recognize the local area's commitment to early, voluntary action by deferring the effective date of the nonattainment designation and/or designation requirements for participating areas that are monitoring a violation of the 8-hour ozone standard, so long as all terms and milestones of the compact are being met, including submission of an early action SIP revision in 2004. Components of the plan include 1) emissions inventory 2) SIP-quality modeling 3) pollution control strategy with local air pollution controls, and 4) broad-based public input.

If an area does not meet their obligations under the 8-Hour Ozone Early Action Compact Program, the area will revert back to the 8-hour designation process which will be applied nationwide under the 8-hour ozone implementation guidelines. Areas in Region 6 which are participating in the 8-hour Ozone Compact are listed below. For more information on 8-hour Ozone Compacts, see http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/ozone/eac/

1. Shreveport/Bossier City, LA
2. Tulsa, OK
3. Austin-San Marcos, TX
4. Longview/Tyler, TX area
5. San Antonio, TX

6. Oklahoma City, OK
7. San Juan County, NM

For additional agency publications on ozone, see http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=static.publications

EPA Headquarters Home pages

1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
2. EPA Office of Air and Radiation (OAR)
3. EPA Office of Air Quality Planing and Standards (OAQPS)
4. EPA Office of Mobile Sources (OMS)
5. EPA Ozone transport assessment group (OTAG)
6. Technical Transfer Network

State Web Sites Exit EPA

1. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/
2. Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ): http://www.deq.state.la.us
3. Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ): http://www.deq.state.ok.us
4. New Mexico Environment Department (NMED): http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us
5. Arkansas Department of Environmenatal Quality (ADEQ): http://www.adeq.state.ar.us
6. City of Albuquerque, New Mexico: http://www.cabq.gov

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