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EPA Recommends Evaluation of 12 Dallas/Fort Worth Counties for New Air Quality Designation
Release Date: 12/4/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended to Texas that the 12 counties in the Dallas/Fort Worth area remain under discussion as EPA and the state work toward a decision about 8-hour ozone air quality designations. In July 2003, Gov. Rick Perry proposed initial designation boundaries. The state's recommendation was the first step in working with EPA to designate areas which have not attained the clean air standards and those areas which have achieved the clean air goal.
EPA will continue to work with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to gather data on the Dallas/Fort Worth area and evaluate appropriate boundaries for the non-attainment area. EPA is scheduled to issue final designation decisions by April 15, 2004.
EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said, "We believe that all 12 counties in the D/FW metropolitan area need to be included in the non-attainment discussion. We are inviting state leaders to submit more information to support their recommendation. We recognize that five counties came forward voluntarily and took early pollution control measures, such as automobile inspection and maintenance requirements. These are positive neighborhood solutions."
EPA sent a letter to the governor which suggests areas it believes should be considered in the nonattainment discussion and asked for any new analyses to support the state's recommendation. Other communities in Texas receiving suggested non-attainment designations include Beaumont/Port Arthur, Houston and San Antonio.
The process of designating attainment areas plays an important role in letting the public know whether air quality in a given area is healthy. The new standard is based on 8-hour averages of ozone levels, which reflects a more realistic measure of people's exposure and is more protective of public health than the 1-hour standard.
EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said, "Our goal is clean, safe air for every American to breathe. We are developing a suite of clean air controls that will help the states and tribes meet these important new health standards."
More information about ground-level ozone is available on the Internet at https://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/ozone/index.html. More information about the proposal, including a copy of EPA's letter to the governor, is available at www.epa.gov/ozonedesignations.