Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to give states more time to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), an ozone regulation issued in 2015. Administrator Scott Pruitt today sent a letter to governors informing them that the EPA is extending the deadline for promulgating initial area designations for the NAAQS by one year.
The NAAQS for ground-level ozone is an outdoor air regulation under the Clean Air Act. As part of the process to determine what areas of the country are able to meet the current air quality standards, states are currently submitting their proposals for area designations. Areas designated as being in “nonattainment” of the standard face serious consequences, including: increased regulatory burdens, stiff federal penalties, lost highway dollars, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses.
Since 1980, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants have dropped by 63 percent and ozone levels have declined by 33 percent. Despite the continued improvement of air quality, costs associated with compliance of the ozone NAAQS have significantly increased.
“I am grateful for the leadership of EPA Administrator Pruitt in courageously pausing the costly and ineffective Ozone Rule, and I’m hopeful that the one year delay will provide time for the EPA to review the detrimental effects the Ozone Rule will have on the Texas economy,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Texas has continually reduced ambient ozone concentrations in the state without stifling the growth of Texas’s industry or population, and looks forward to continuing efforts to improve air quality while bolstering the Texas economy.”
Texas previously challenged this rule on December 28, 2015. In addition to Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin have also filed lawsuits against the Ozone Rule.
To view a copy of the letter, click here.