BackgroundAs various states across the country participate in enhanced ambient monitoring and photochemical modeling activities, we are observing that there is a considerable transport of ground-level ozone and ozone precursors (NOx and VOC). Results of state and regional efforts indicate that ozone nonattainment areas cannot demonstrate attainment by only implementing control measures within the nonattainment area -- significant ozone and precursor concentration reductions at the boundary of a nonattainment area will also be necessary.
Since 1994 EPA has advocated continued emission reductions within ozone nonattainment areas, together with a national assessment of the ozone transport phenomena. The policy includes a proposal for national and local controls aimed at reducing boundary pollutant concentrations. (See "Ozone Attainment Demonstrations," Memorandum from Mary D. Nichols, March 2, 1995)
The transport phenomena is especially significant in certain areas of the eastern U.S., including the "northeast corridor" (roughly from Washington, DC, to Boston, MA) and the vicinity of Lake Michigan. In these areas, transport of ozone precursors from distant sources contributes heavily to the ozone pollution problems in local/state jurisdictions.
Program ObjectiveNo individual state or regional jurisdiction can be expected to either fully assess or subsequently resolve all of the issues relevant to the long-range transport of ground-level ozone. To foster thoughtful assessment and development of consensus solutions to this problem, EPA and ECOS formed a national workgroup, OTAG, to bring together all interested states and other relevant stakeholders, such as industry and environmental groups. Its primary objective is the collective assessment of the ozone transport problem, and development of a strategy for reducing ozone pollution on a regional scale.
Policy GroupThe Policy Group:
Provides overall policy direction to OTAG's subgroups and workgroups
for the assessment of ozone formation and transport; Oversees the
development of national and regional control strategies; and Proposes
an agreed-to set of strategies that will result in the overall reduction
of ozone and precursor concentrations.
SubgroupsTo provide the Policy Group with information for decision-making, three subgroups have been established. These subgroups will work concurrently to allow for continuous interaction between them and to provide for timely assessments and evaluations.
Each subgroup conducts open working meetings in order to receive comments and recommendations, and to provide all interested parties with an opportunity to participate in the process.
Modeling and Assessment SubgroupThe Modeling and Assessment Subgroup addresses issues relevant to emissions inventory, monitoring, and modeling. Its goal is to develop a scientifically accurate assessment of the ozone transport phenomena and its impact. The subgroup will also promote consistency in the development of emission inventories, collection and interpretation of monitoring data, and in the conduct of modeling activities.
Members of this subgroup include state air directors as well as appropriate staff from State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators/Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (STAPPA/ALAPCO) and regional organizations such as Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association (MARAMA), and LADCO. This subgroup includes appropriate technical representation from EPA Headquarters, EPA Regional offices, and industry and environmental groups. It is chaired by New Jersey Commissioner Bob Shinn and Air Director John Elston.
The Modeling and Assessment Subgroup has formed three workgroups to concentrate on specific issues. The workgroups are Regional and Urban Scale Modeling, Emission Inventory, and Air Quality.
Strategies and Controls SubgroupThe Strategies and Controls Subgroup focuses on compiling an array of possible national, regional and local strategy and control measures. The subgroup evaluates the availability, effectiveness, and cost of the proposed control measures.
Initially the subgroup will develop strategy and control options for use in ozone modeling. Subsequently, the subgroup may propose measures for adoption by the appropriate regulatory agencies.
Members of this subgroup include state air directors as well as appropriate staff from STAPPA/ALAPCO and regional organizations such as NESCAUM, MARAMA, and LADCO. In addition, this subgroup includes appropriate technical representation from EPA Headquarters, EPA Regional offices, and industry and environmental groups. It is chaired by Ohio Commissioner Don Schregardus and Air Director Bob Hodanbosi.
The Strategies and Controls Subgroup has formed three workgroups to concentrate on specific issues. The workgroups are Control Technologies and Options, Implementation Strategies and Issues, and Trading/Incentives.
Financial Assessment and Implementation SubgroupThe Financial Assessment and Implementation Subgroup is responsible for addressing funding and budget issues associated with OTAG. This subgroup is chaired by Georgia Commissioner Harold Reheis.
Outreach and Communications Subgroup
This subgroup is responsible for educating and informing the public about OTAG: its origin and purpose, its goals, and what the public can expect as a result of this collaboration. This subgroup will educate and inform the public about the environmental benefits of OTAG's recommendations regarding measures to reduce transported ozone and ozone precursors.
The objectives of the subgroup are to:
Educate the public about ozone, its formation, its transport as
a regional issue, and its potential effects on human health and
the environment. Educate the public about what has been done to
date to address ozone problems and the difficulties states have
experienced in their attempts to comply with the federal ozone standard.
Educate the public about industrial control measures and other strategies
that have been developed and implemented or are under consideration.
Educate the public regarding its role in generating ozone precursors,
and to identify the steps that the public could take or be required
to take to limit those emissions. Educate the public regarding the
opportunity that OTAG offers for collaborative problem solving and
how states are empowered through this process. Celebrate measurable
progress toward the goals established by OTAG.
To deliver its messages and achieve its objectives, the subgroup coordinates with other public education initiatives such as those of STAPPA/ALAPCO, OTC, NESCAUM, etc. It promotes ozone mapping with distribution through commercial weather services, delivers presentations to regional and national associations, produces updates of policy discussions for national publications, and uses the Internet to communicate directly with the public.
Subgroup members include representatives from environmental groups, industry, government, and the regional media. It is chaired by Ned Sullivan, Commissioner, Maine Department of Environmental Protection.