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EPA Proposes No Change to Ozone NAAQS

Posted on August 18, 2020 by Roger Marks

On August 14, US EPA proposed no change to its National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for photochemical oxidants (e.g., ozone).

EPA proposed to retain the current ozone NAAQS of 70 parts-per-billion (ppb), without revision. Ozone—a major component of smog—is one of six criteria pollutants for which EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

EPA is required by law to review each NAAQS air quality standard once every five years. In 2015, EPA lowered the NAAQS for ozone to 70 ppb.

In 2018, EPA established a “back-to-basics” approach for NAAQS reviews, which laid out five core principles for EPA to follow to improve the process (Read more).

What Are National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)?

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to set maximum allowable levels for six criteria pollutants in the ambient air: ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. In areas where the pollution level rises above the NAAQS, facilities face more stringent pollution control. Reporting, and permitting requirements for building or modifying sources of air pollution.

When any of these air quality standards changes, EPA must determine which regions are in attainment of the new standard. Because the NAAQS for ozone does not change under this proposal, re-designation will not be necessary.

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