Legal Alerts Oct 13, 2015

EPA Issues New Regulation Governing Air Quality Standards for Ozone

New Standards Could be Costly for California’s Public Agencies

EPA Issues New Regulation Governing Air Quality Standards for Ozone

The United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule earlier this month strengthening the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone, changing it from 75 parts per billion to 70 ppb. EPA believes the updated standards will serve to protect the public from adverse health effects associated with long-term ozone exposure, such as asthma.

While the regulatory action may serve to protect public health, it could also prove costly for California’s public agencies. Since 2008, California has spent nearly $3 billion on funding innovative technologies to combat ozone pollution, such as zero-emission trucks and buses and near-zero emission freight equipment. Even with these investments, EPA believes California will likely need to undergo a “transformational change” to meet the updated standards. According to EPA, the State may need to “transition to largely zero or near-zero emission vehicle technologies.”

As a result of this recent rulemaking, the California Air Resources Board will need to submit an Infrastructure State Implementation Plan to EPA. This I-SIP is due in 2018, and will detail the regulatory programs and resources California plans to utilize to implement the new ozone standards. While it is still early in the regulatory process, EPA estimates that a number of California counties will have attainment dates ranging from 2032 to 2037.

For more information or to discuss how these standards may affect your agency or CEQA process, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group, or your BB&K attorney.

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Disclaimer: BB&K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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