EPA: Denver Violates Federal Ozone Standard
On Nov. 20, EPA's
Region 8 office announced another extension date will not be granted
for Denver to meet the federal agency's 8-hour ozone standard. The
result is a federal nonattainment designation for the Denver area.
According to state-validated air quality data from 2005, 2006 and
the first three quarters of 2007, the Denver area violated the 8-hour
federal health-based standard for ozone. Based on this data, EPA has
allowed a nonattainment designation to take effect, thus the area has
forfeited its participation in the Early Action Compact program.
The Denver Early Action Compact (EAC) agreement was signed in
December 2002 by the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado
Department of Transportation, the Air Quality Control Commission, the
Denver Regional Council of Governments and EPA. The nonattainment
designation will require local and state officials to submit a new plan
to reduce ground-level ozone pollution.
In April 2004, EPA designated the Denver area (Adams, Arapahoe,
Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson and parts of Larimer
and Weld counties) as nonattainment for the 8-hour ozone standard, but
deferred the effective date of the designation based on a commitment
from the State of Colorado, the Regional Air Quality Council and others
to implement ozone control measures sooner than required by the Clean
Air Act. This commitment was contained in the Denver Early Action
Compact. In return for this early action and for meeting certain
milestones, EPA agreed to defer the effective date of the nonattainment
designation under the 8-hour ozone standard.
The latest deferral date was Nov. 20. Because the state's monitoring
data shows a violation of the 8-hour ozone standard, EPA has not
granted another extension, and the 8-hour ozone nonattainment
designation for the Denver EAC area became effective on Nov. 20.
Ground-level ozone, a primary ingredient in smog, is formed when
volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides 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 -- stagnant air, 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.
CDPHE, the RAQC and others are working on a revised state
implementation plan to address the Denver area's 8-hour ozone
nonattainment issues. The revised plan is expected to contain
additional control measures that will ensure the area meets the 8-hour
ozone standard in the shortest time possible.
For more information, contact EPA Region 8 at http://www.epa.gov/region8