Ozone standards getting tougher
POSTED: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 5:50pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 9:12pm
It’s been tough, but this part of the state has stayed below the minimum standards for ozone pollution, but those standards are about to change, and local officials are scrambling to decide what to do next.
Now, we all want clean air, and most us understand it isn’t free.
But, the EPA will announce the new, tougher standard for ground level ozone at the end of July.
“The most recent ozone standard was set in 2008. At that level, it wasn’t set at a standard to protect public health at an adequate level,” says Rick McKnight of the East Texas Council of Governments. “Right now, as the EPA ozone level is set, our entire 5-county East Texas area is designated as in attainment.”
But in this economy, a new and lower ozone standard certainly qualifies as lousy timing.
“The counties will be held accountable whether you created it or not,” says Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, “By transportation dollars. By inspection stickers. By a lot of things that will affect the average Joe Blow on the street everyday.”
The components of pollution in East Texas are known. But controlling them is the tough part.
“It seems to be a combination of our local sources, weather, and then we also have transport that also blows into our region, mixes with the hot weather and when it becomes stagnant,” McKnight told us. “it just sort of sits over our area with our local contributions and causes our ozone readings to go up.”
Stoudt says, to much of their air quality is out of their control.
“I will be surprised if this new EPA ruling is not challenged in court,” he says. “Because it will put a tremendous amount of burden on a lot of the state of Texas and a lot of the United States…a lot!”
The EPA has been holding hearings and conducting research since 2007.
The new standard will be announced next week.