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EPA approves Tulsa ozone flex agreement

Release Date: 04/08/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or

(Dallas, Texas – April 8, 2008) Today the Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, announced that it has approved a new air quality plan for the Tulsa area under its 8-hour Ozone Flex (8-O3Flex) program.

The 8-O3Flex program allows communities that are currently meeting the national standard for ozone to implement proactive, voluntary measures that will reduce emissions of ozone-causing pollutants to improve air quality and stay within federal requirements.

“EPA and the 8-hour Ozone Flex program are helping communities achieve cleaner air sooner,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “We are pleased to have cities like Tulsa working with EPA, state and industry groups to develop better solutions for a better environment.”

Tulsa’s 8-O3Flex agreement will involve implementing five projects over the next year, including a Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority Clean Diesel Retrofit Project. The clean diesel project will retrofit 26 buses and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by about 4.5 tons per year. Nitrogen oxide combines with volatile organic compounds and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, or smog.

In addition to the clean diesel project, Terra Nitrogen, a manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizer products northeast of Tulsa, will voluntarily install ultra-low nitrogen oxide burners on one of its ammonia reformers. The $2 million project is planned for 2009 and is expected to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 425 tons per year. Numerous other measures, including a City of Tulsa energy conservation project, will provide additional reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

The Tulsa metro area has been an ozone attainment area since 1990 and currently has an ozone design value of 0.080 ppm. EPA approved a more protective 8-hour ozone standard of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) on March 12. The 8-O3Flex plan will remain in effect until 2013, unless the area is reclassified under the new ozone standard.

Oklahoma will recommend which areas should be classified as in nonattainment of the new standard in 2009, and EPA will finalize those designations in 2010. The 8-O3Flex agreement will not prevent the region from being designated as a nonattainment area under the new standard. However, the plan is expected to help the area reduce ozone and reach the revised standard sooner.

Additional information on the 8-hour ozone flex program is available at

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit

An EPA audio file is available at