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Communities Get New Tool for Clean Air Strategy

Release Date: 05/18/2006
Contact Information: Cynthia Fanning or Dave Bary, 214-665-2200 or

(Dallas, Texas - May 18, 2006) Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the 8-hour Ozone Flex (8-O3Flex) program, which gives communities a new tool to maintain health-based ozone standards. By joining the 8-O3Flex program, communities that are currently meeting health-based national ozone air quality standards can take steps to maintain or reduce air pollution and prevent violations of the 8-hour standard. This program will provide a way to maintain healthy air quality in the face of growth in industry and population.

"The Ozone Flex concept was created and piloted in Texas," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "The 1-hour Ozone Flex program was so effective and well-received that we have updated it for the 8-hour standard and made it available nationwide."

To participate, a community would sign an agreement with EPA and the appropriate state environmental agency to take voluntary, proactive steps to improve an area's air quality by controlling emissions of ozone-generating pollutants. EPA and the states encourage communities to take advantage of this voluntary program to maintain cleaner air.

"Voluntary programs that encourage proactive air planning make a lot of sense. I am glad that this approach may be embraced by others nationwide," TCEQ Chairman Kathleen Hartnett White said. "It is always encouraging to see cities in Texas embrace workable environmental solutions."

Corpus Christi, Texas, is considering applying for the 8-O3Flex program. "The 1-hour program worked well for Corpus Christi. We look forward to continuing our leadership in air quality, making the city a great place to live, work and raise a family," Corpus Christi Mayor Henry Garrett said.

Areas eligible to participate in the 8-O3Flex program are those designated in April 2004 as in attainment for the 8-hour ozone standard, that are currently in attainment and not subject to other federal and state ozone maintenance requirements. In addition, the area must have air monitors in place that meet state implementation plan requirements.

The 8-hour ozone standard replaced the 1-hour standard in 2005. For more information about the
8-O3Flex program, including community eligibility requirements and program guidance, visit


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