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EPA Ozone Petition Response Stresses Smooth Transition to Stronger Standard

Release Date: 05/24/2005
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If you need more information on any of these subjects, call the listed Press Officer.

Contact: John Millett, 202-564-4355 /

(05/24/05) EPA responded on May 20, 2005 to two parts of an Earthjustice petition for reconsideration of the final rule to implement Phase 1 of the 8-Hour National Ambient Air Quality Ozone Standard. EPA's decision will ensure that states focus resources on improving air quality and coordinating ozone standards deadlines for major requirements. States will continue to implement existing plans related to the old (1-hour) ozone standard to protect air quality as they make the transition to the new (8-hour) standard, which takes effect in 2007 when states submit plans to EPA for meeting the 8-hour ozone standard. The old standard allowed 120 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone averaged over a one-hour period. The tougher new standard cuts the allowable level of ozone to 80 ppb, which is averaged over a longer eight-hour period. While state and local agencies must take actions to reduce air pollution to meet the new standards, the stringent new federal regulations on power plant and vehicle emissions will help improve air quality nationally. The federal regulations provide states with much needed help in meeting the standards and most areas across the country will reach attainment with the ozone standards without significant additional actions.

Under the implementation requirements for the new standard, certain provisions of the old standard that required states to impose fees on facilities for failure to attain the standard no longer apply. EPA determined that these "Section 185 fees" would not be necessary to implement the new standard and would divert resources from improving air quality. Also, EPA changed the date from April 15, 2004 to June 15, 2004 for determining which controls need to remain in place to avoid air quality degradation after the old standard is revoked. The Agency made this change to harmonize the deadlines for all the major requirements of the standard. EPA continues its review of other issues in Earthjustice's petition.

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