TCEQ Hosts Meetings on New EPA Ozone Standards

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will host a series of meetings in June and July to inform the public about, and receive comment on, potential nonattainment boundaries and designations for new ozone standards. These standards were proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January and are expected to be finalized in August.

(Interestingly enough, the Associated Press published an article stating that EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz said his agency is considering taking over the state's job of regulating air quality in the state.)

TCEQ explained that EPA announced potential new ozone standards — a primary standard in the range of between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million and a cumulative secondary standard of 7 – 15 ppm-hours. The state must submit recommendations for which counties should be designated nonattainment for ozone standards by January 2011. Due to the shortened schedule, TCEQ is holding meetings prior to the standard being finalized to provide available information and receive comment.

EPA designates areas as either in attainment or nonattainment with respect to National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone. A nonattainment designation may require measures be taken to bring an area into compliance.

The meetings are scheduled as follows:

    Beaumont-Port Arthur, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston-Galveston Brazoria areas — 1 p.m., June 8 via video conference at TCEQ Headquarters 12100 Park 35 Circle, Building F, Room 2210. Video conferencing will be available to the public at the TCEQ regional offices in Beaumont, Fort Worth, and the Texas Department of Transportation Houston District Office.

    San Antonio —1 p.m., June 9, TCEQ Region 13 office, 14250 Judson Road.

    Austin-Round Rock area —1 p.m., June 15, TCEQ headquarters, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Building E, Room 201S, Austin.

    Waco—1 p.m., June 17, Baylor University, Room 127 of the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

    Victoria—1 p.m., June 22, City of Victoria, 700 North Main, Room 204.

    Corpus Christi —10 a.m., June 23, TCEQ regional office, 6300 Ocean Dr.

    El Paso—1 p.m., July 6, El Paso Public Library, 501 North Oregon.

    Brewster County—10 a.m., July 7, Alpine Civic Center, 801 West Holland St.

    Northeast Texas area —1 p.m., July 15, Maude Cobb Activity Center, 100 Grand Blvd., Eitleman Conference Room, Longview.

    Lower Rio Grande Valley area —1 p.m. July 20, TCEQ regional office, 804 W. Jefferson, Harlingen.

Each meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the process the state will follow as it develops its recommendation. The state must submit a recommendation to EPA no later than Jan. 7, according to the federal Clean Air Act.

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