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Court Upholds Houston's Ozone Plan
Release Date: 10/29/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a unanimous decision upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of the Houston ozone plan. The plan was prepared by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and approved by EPA on November 14, 2001.
The court found that EPA's final approval of the Houston Ozone State Implementation Plan or "SIP" is not arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with the law. This important ruling allows EPA, state and local officials to move forward in implementing and enforcing measures in the plan and to focus on developing future plans to attain the new 8-hour ozone standard.
"We are very pleased with this decision because it means progress in air quality in the Houston area. It is also a step in the right direction toward the greater goal of achieving good air quality throughout the state of Texas," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.
TCEQ Chairman Kathleen Hartnett White said, "We believe this court decision validates our approach to cleaning up the air in Texas. We are applying the State Implementation Plan in an effective manner as we steadily move toward the goal of meeting federal clean air guidelines."
EPA's approval was challenged by the Business Coalition for Clean Air (BCCA) Appeal Group representing industry, a county government affected by some of the SIP's provisions, environmental groups and individuals who live and work in the Houston-Galveston area.
The court's decision may be found at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/02/02-60017-cv0.wpd.pdf. More information about Houston's ozone plan is available at http://www.tnrcc.state.tx.us/oprd/sips/siphga.html.