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EPA Urges New Jersey to Adopt Regulations to Ease Smog Problems

Release Date: 05/20/2004
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(#04072) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today took the first step toward making a formal determination that New Jersey has failed to adopt certain clean air measures that it needs to meet federal ground-level ozone, or smog, standards. EPA welcomes public comments on its action, and at the same time, urges the state to adopt the measures.

All states that do not meet federal smog standards must submit plans to EPA for how they plan to meet the standards. New Jersey is required to comply with federal smog standards by 2005 in the Philadelphia-Camden area, and by 2007 in the rest of the state. Part of New Jersey's clean air plan was to adopt six regulations to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which combine in sunlight during the hot summer months to create smog.

So far, the state has adopted four of the six regulations. It was required to adopt all of them by October 2001, to insure that they could be put into place in time to meet the 2005 deadline in the Philadelphia-Camden area. Four other states in the Northeast also agreed to adopt the regulations. New Jersey lags behind them in adopting the measures.

The regulations include statewide limitations on VOC emissions from automotive paint, degreasing operations, consumer products like polishes and cleansers and from portable gasoline cans. The two measures New Jersey has not yet adopted are a limitation on VOCs from paints used on buildings, decks and bridges, and a control on NOx emissions from small power generators, like backup generators at office and industrial complexes and pumps along natural gas pipelines.

Were EPA to make a final determination that the state continued to fail to adopt the full set of measures, sanctions could apply.

EPA's proposed Finding of Failure to Implement will be published in the Federal Register within the next several days. Once it is published, interested members of the public will have 30 days to submit comments to EPA. The Agency will then decide whether to proceed with a final determination.