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Parties Reach Agreements on Dallas/Fort Worth Air Quality Planning
Release Date: 5/5/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.
Government agencies, local officials and citizen groups have reached a series of agreements regarding plans to achieve health-based air quality standards in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to take steps to settle a lawsuit over the expiring 1-hour ozone standard. EPA, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and local governments have voluntarily committed to additional steps for ensuring progress in meeting the new 8-hour ozone standard.
"I am pleased that we and the local citizen groups were able to reach an agreement that moves us toward our goal of cleaner, healthier air for residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth area," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "The commitments made in a series of agreements by many members of the Dallas/Fort Worth community will help us take faster steps toward achieving healthier air quality under the new standard."
Four citizen groups (Blue Skies Alliance, Downwinders at Risk, Public Citizen's Texas Office and the Sierra Club) sued the EPA, alleging that insufficient action had taken place to approve and implement the State Implementation Plan for meeting the old 1-hour standard for ozone, due to expire next month. A number of organizations intervened in the litigation supporting EPA, including the TCEQ, Collin County, Tarrant County and some industry representatives.
"This settlement marks a new era of action to improve Dallas/Fort Worth's air quality as quickly as possible. For the first time since the Clean Air Act was passed, we think we have an outline of a plan that can finally deliver clean air for Dallas/Fort Worth residents to breathe," said Wendi Hammond, Director of Blue Skies Alliance. "And we believe that if all the parties continue to cooperate as they have during these negotiations, we'll arrive at that goal sooner than we would have without this agreement."
In a consent decree, EPA agreed to a schedule to complete action on a number of 1-hour ozone standard planning requirements including a program for cleaner engines and traffic congestion prevention measures. Significantly, parties went beyond the lawsuit and made voluntary commitments focused on making progress to achieve the new 8-hour standard. EPA also agreed to evaluate the most significant toxic air pollutants for additional monitoring.
TCEQ agreed to a cement industry study to evaluate the potential availability of new air pollution control technologies for cement kilns in the Dallas/Fort Worth 8-hour ozone nonattainment area.
"We are pleased that all of the parties involved agreed to move forward to take positive steps towards improving air quality in the Dallas/Fort Worth area immediately," TCEQ Commissioner R.B. "Ralph" Marquez said. "We remain committed to evaluating all reasonable pollution control measures to move us closer to our goal of cleaner air."
Local officials agreed to implement local pollution control measures earlier than required by state and federal regulations.
"Clean air has been my goal for some time," Collin County Judge Ron Harris said. "These measures will help us bring relief faster to children and families suffering from the effects of poor air quality."
Tarrant County Judge Tom Vandergriff said, "Besides making us healthier, clean air will make our area more attractive to businesses and spur economic development. It's a problem we created together and one we must solve together."
A copy of the settlement is available at https://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/dfw_sip_cd.pdf. More information about the Dallas/Fort Worth area's State Implementation Plan is available from the TCEQ at http://www.tnrcc.state.tx.us/oprd/sips/index.html. More information about Dallas/Fort Worth air quality is available from the North Central Texas Council of Governments at http://www.dfwcleanair.com/.