Dec 03, 2014 - 12:45pm

This Map Shows If Your Area Will Meet EPA’s Ozone Standard

Senior Editor, Digital Content


U.S. counties that will be in nonattainment under a 65 ppb ozone standard.
Source: Senate Republican Policy Committee.

If EPA lowers the ozone standard to between 65 and 70 (parts per billion) ppb will your area be in violation?

Above is a map made available on the Senate Republican Policy Committee's website. As you can see, every major metropolitan center would have ozone levels above EPA's proposed 65 ppb standard.

When areas are declared to be in nonattainment, states must draw up state implementation plans (SIPS) for EPA’s approval, as this FAQ from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality explains:

State plans will make sure power plants, factories and other pollution sources meet clean-up goals by working through the air pollution permitting process that applies to industrial facilities. Working with the EPA, a state or local authority will also implement programs to further reduce emissions of pollutant precursors from sources such as cars, fuels, and consumer/commercial products and activities.

These plans cover all aspects of industry. For instance, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality 2013 SIP for the Dallas-Fort Worth area includes gas turbines, kilns, furnaces, and water heaters. It even covers the making of windshield wiper fluid and drugs. They also get very detailed. In the case of industrial boilers, Texas regulators provide 25 pages of flowcharts to help companies determine what standards apply to them.

These extensive plans and requirements stemming from an excessively stringent EPA ozone standard can have a detrimental effect on economic development. Again quoting the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality FAQ:

Industrial facilities could be required to install pollution control equipment, take limits on their production, or otherwise find reductions in emissions by “offsetting” in order to expand. New facilities wanting to locate in a nonattainment area will most likely be required to install pollution controls or take stringent operational limits.

Should EPA get its wish and lower the ozone standard further, most of the country will be in violation. This will mean more detailed plans will have to be developed and more costly restrictions imposed. Businesses will have more regulations to comprehend, more forms to fill out, and more records to keep. They’ll be more occupied trying to meet the new standard instead of serving their customers, growing their businesses, and creating jobs.

About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.