Rider 8 State and Local Air Quality Planning Program: Background and History
The program originated with a $500,000 rider appropriation from the 74th Texas Legislature in 1995 to support local air quality planning efforts in Austin, San Antonio, Northeast Texas, and Corpus Christi toward attaining the Federal Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). A fifth area, Victoria, was added in 1998 and the Legislature's appropriation eventually grew to $5,075,000 by 2002.
By 2005, the TCEQ and three of these local areas (Austin, San Antonio, and Northeast Texas) had adopted Early Action Compacts into the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP). Austin and Corpus Christi had entered into an Ozone Flex Agreement with the TCEQ and the U.S. EPA. All four programs prevented these areas from entering active nonattainment status under the 1997 eight-hour Ozone NAAQS through 2007.
Over the bienniums the Rider has appropriated various amounts and revised the areas eligible for the program.
Texas 83rd Legislature Appropriations Rider 8 for TCEQ
Appropriation: Air Quality Planning
Included in amounts appropriated above, out of the Clean Air Account No. 151 in Strategy A.1.1 Air Quality Assessment and Planning, is $5,000,500 for the biennium beginning on September 1, 2013 for air quality planning activities to reduce ozone in areas not designated as nonattainment areas during the 2014-15 biennium and as approved the TCEQ. These areas may include Waco, El Paso, Beaumont, Austin, Corpus Christi, Longview-Tyler-Marshall, San Antonio, and Victoria. These activities may be carried out through inter-local agreements or contracts and may include identifying, inventorying, and monitoring of pollution levels, modeling pollution levels and the identification, quantification, and implementation of appropriate locally enforceable pollution-reduction controls.
The TCEQ shall allocate these funds in such a way as to channel the funds to those projects most useful for the SIP. The areas receiving funds shall submit work plans for TCEQ approval describing the work they will complete with those funds.
Current Air Quality Planning Efforts
With guidance from the TCEQ, all areas have been encouraged to devote resources to the following tasks:
- updating the conceptual understanding of local ozone formation processes;
- assessing the state of local emissions inventories (identifying possible areas of improvement);
- analyzing air quality monitoring in their areas
- identifying controls for future in-depth study
- improve local monitoring networks;
- emissions inventory improvements;
- develop local control strategies;
- use a photochemical modeling episode developed by the TCEQ to analyze ozone sources and conduct sensitivity tests
- improve public understanding of the ozone problem and motivate the public to voluntarily reduce its contribution to ozone pollution; and
- involve local stakeholders in local air quality planning so that these efforts have broad support within local communities.