News Releases from Region 06
EPA Proposes to Redesignate Baton Rouge, La., as Attaining Ozone Standard
DALLAS – (Nov. 1, 2016) Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to redesignate the Baton Rouge, La., area as being in attainment of federal health-based ozone standards. The state of Louisiana requested the redesignation based on three years of air quality data showing the metropolitan area of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge Parishes meets the 2008 8-hour ozone standard of 0.075 parts per million (ppm). EPA also proposes to approve the state’s plan for maintaining the standard.
“The Baton Rouge area has met an important milestone in meeting air quality requirements for ozone,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “By working hard and taking necessary emission-reduction measures, Baton Rouge is regaining its momentum to meet our health-based air quality goals.”
The state of Louisiana submitted a request to redesignate the area in May 2016, as well as a plan for maintaining the standard. This plan includes motor vehicle emissions budgets for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), both chemicals that can contribute to the formation of ozone. Based on previous air quality data, EPA had designated the Baton Rouge area as marginal nonattainment for the 0.075 ppm standard in 2012. EPA bases designation decisions on the three-year average of the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations.
Ground-level ozone is created by chemical reactions between NOx and VOCs in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from vehicles, gasoline vapors, industrial facilities and electric utilities, and chemical solvents are major sources of NOx and VOCs. Breathing ozone can trigger health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. Ground-level ozone can also harm sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.
In 2015, EPA updated the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone to 0.070 ppm. EPA has not yet made area designations based on this updated standard.
EPA’s proposal will be available for public comment for 30 days, starting upon publication in the federal register.
More about ozone pollution: https://www.epa.gov/ozone-pollution
More about EPA’s activities in Louisiana: https://www.epa.gov/la
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Activities in EPA Region 6: http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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