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EPA Announces Significant Agreement with Governor's New Air Quality Designations for Texas

Release Date: 12/4/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its significant agreement with the state on 8-hour air quality designations in Texas.  Based on the newest scientific data, EPA and Texas are pleased with the success of meeting the new, more stringent 8-hour air quality standard in the Austin/San Marcos, Longview/Marshall and Tyler areas.

      EPA agrees with Gov. Rick Perry's recommendations for non-attainment boundaries in the Beaumont/Port Arthur and Houston areas.  However, EPA is recommending further evaluation of some counties in the Dallas Fort/Worth and San Antonio areas.  

      The state's recommendation was the first step in working with EPA to designate areas which have not attained the clean air standards and those areas which have achieved the clean air goal.  By letter to the governor, EPA outlined the areas it believes should be considered in the nonattainment discussion and asked for any new scientific information to support the state's recommendation.

      EPA will continue to work with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to review data and discuss appropriate boundaries for the non-attainment areas. EPA is scheduled to make final designation decisions by April 15, 2004.

      EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said, "EPA is committed to helping communities across the state in creating plans to make the air healthier to breathe. We believe that the key to our success is to empower communities as they work in bringing about neighborhood solutions to achieve national clean air goals, and look forward to building on our past successes."

      The process of designating attainment areas plays an important role in letting the public know whether air quality in a given area is healthy.  The new, more stringent standard is based on 8-hour averages of ozone levels, which reflects a more realistic measure of people's exposure and is more protective of public health than the 1-hour standard.

      EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said, "Our goal is clean, safe air for every American to breathe.  We are developing a suite of clean air controls that will help the states and tribes meet these important new health standards."

      More information about ground-level ozone is available on the Internet at More information about the designations, including a copy of EPA's letter to the governor, is available at