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.

Current Status

On November 16, 2017, EPA certified some 2,650 areas as in compliance (or in attainment) of the rule. It did not designate any non-attainment areas or release a timeline for doing so. On December 4-5, 2017 multiple states and a coalition of environmental and public health groups sued EPA for its failure to designate non-attainment areas. On December 19, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court ordered EPA to “file a status report identifying with precision and specificity when it plans to file a final rule establishing air quality designations…” by January 12, 2018, for the areas which were not covered by the attainment designations.

On December 22, 2017, EPA announced it sent letters to areas not covered by the attainment designations, seeking further information from them in order to make a designation, with a 120-day deadline for response. On January 5, 2018, EPA published notice that it will make the remaining attainment designations by April 30, 2018 (with the exception of 8 Texas counties, which will be designated by August 10, 2018).

On March 12, 2018, a Northern District of California District Court ruled that EPA could not delay the Texas counties, or any others, and must make all designations by July 17, 2018.

On March 30, 2018, EPA published notice that it will finish designations for the Texas counties by the court-ordered deadline and lists an intended designation for each area.

On April 30, 2018, EPA announced it had made all remaining designations with the exception of the 8 Texas counties. 51 areas were in nonattainment, starting a clock for them to make improvements.

On June 4, 2018 EPA published in the Federal Register designations for “all remaining areas, except for eight counties in the San Antonio, Texas metropolitan area.”

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.

Click here learn more about the history of this rule and actions that have been taken on it by the Trump Administration.

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