EPA seeks comments on proposal to approve Denver's Early Action Compact plan

EPA's Region 8 office is proposing approval of the Denver metropolitan area's Early Action Compact plan. The EAC represents two and a half years of effort by the state and local governments to address ozone pollution in the Denver metropolitan area. This publication in the Federal Register opens a 30-day period in which the public is invited to comment.

Under the Early Action Compact program, Denver submitted its plan to start reducing ground-level ozone pollution at least two years sooner than required by the Clean Air Act. In return for this early action and for meeting certain milestones, EPA will defer the effective date of nonattainment designations under the 8-hour ozone standard.

In addition to traditional ozone control programs such as vehicle inspection and maintenance and the national automobile standards, Denver's EAC plan includes controls to cut volatile organic compound emissions from rural oil and gas operations, controls on large internal combustion engines used in the oil field and implementation of seasonal gasoline standards. The plan is designed to bring Denver back into compliance by the end of 2007. If successful, EPA will formally designate the area in attainment in 2008.

Ground-level ozone, a primary ingredient in smog, is formed when VOCs and NOx react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Cars, trucks, power plants and industrial facilities are the primary sources of these emissions. Ozone pollution is a concern during the summer months when weather conditions needed to form ground-level ozone -- lots of sun and hot temperatures -- normally occur. Ozone is unhealthy to breathe, especially for people with respiratory diseases and for children and adults who are active outdoors.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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