Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following. If you’re a reporter and would like to speak with an expert on this rule please email us.

Why it Matters

Ground-level ozone, or smog, is formed when pollution from vehicles, power plants, and other industrial sources reacts with sunlight. It can aggravate asthma and cause other respiratory problems, especially in children who are playing outdoors and people who already have lung problems. Stricter ozone standards were set to take effect October 1, 2017.

Current Status

On June 26, 2018, EPA published two calls for information in the Federal Register. One asked interested parties to submit information relevant to the preparation of an Integrated Review Plan and Integrated Science Assessment on ozone, kicking off its next review of the Ozone NAAQs. The comment period for this ends August 27, 2018. The other asked for information regarding adverse effects of strategies for maintenance and attainment of the NAAQS; the comment period closes October 24, 2018

On July 3, 2018 EPA reportedly sent the final draft of its implementation regulations for 2015 ground-level ozone standard to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. On the same day, the D.C. Circuit returned the Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA litigation to its active docket.

July 27, 2018 — EPA published a request for nominations for the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Ozone Review Panel. The review panel provides scientific and technical advice and recommendations on NAAQs and air quality criteria.  “The Panel will be charged with reviewing the science and policy assessments, and related documents, that form the basis for the EPA’s review of the Ozone NAAQS” announced on June 26, 2018 and expected to be completed by late 2020. This panel will be subject to Pruitt’s science advisory committee policy limiting who can serve on EPA advisory panels. For more information on this Administration’s new approach to science advising, see our post on advisory panels.

August 1, 2018 — EPA filed a status report with the D.C. Circuit indicating that “the appropriate EPA officials have reviewed the 2015 [Ozone NAAQS] Rule and have determined that at this time, EPA does not intend to revisit the 2015 Rule.” In this filing, EPA indicated it intends to address background ozone and the “relative contribution of natural and anthropogenic ozone to design values” in its new review of the Ozone NAAQS. “EPA anticipates revisiting both the question of when background concentrations interfere with attainment of the NAAQS and the question of how to consider potential interference with attainment in deciding whether or how to revise the NAAQS.” — Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA, No. 15-1385 (D.C. Cir.).

August 1-2, 2018  — On August 1st, Clean Wisconsin filed a suit challenging the attainment designations of counties in Wisconsin. On August 2nd, Illinois Attorney General Madigan and the City of Chicago filed suit challenging attainment designations made for counties in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Three lawsuits challenging designations have also been filed by environmental groups Sierra Club, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Respiratory Health Association, and the city of Sunland Park, N.M., and Familias Unidas del Chamizal, an El Paso, Texas.

Click here learn more about the history of this rule and the latest updates. 

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