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Beaumont-Port Arthur: Ozone History

Background and history of Beaumont-Port Arthur (BPA) area compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone.

2008 Eight-Hour Ozone Standard (2008 to Present)

On March 27, 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened the primary and secondary eight-hour ozone standards to 0.075 parts per million (73 FR 16436) Exit the TCEQ. On March 10, 2009, the governor recommended to the EPA that Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange counties be designated nonattainment for the 2008 ozone standard (see the governor's letter to EPA region 6) Exit the TCEQ.

In September 2009, the EPA announced that it intended to reconsider the 2008 NAAQS. On January 19, 2010, the EPA proposed revisions in the Federal Register (75 FR 2938) to strengthen the primary eight-hour ozone standard in the range of 0.060 to 0.070 ppm. On September 2, 2011, the President announced a request that the EPA withdraw the proposed, reconsidered ozone standard.

In a September 22, 2011, memo, the EPA announced that it would proceed with initial area designations under the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard, starting with the recommendations states made in 2009 and updating them with the most current, certified air quality data (2008 through 2010). The governor submitted a revised designation recommendation in October 2011 that excluded Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange Counties from being designated as nonattainment under the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard.

On May 21, 2012, the EPA published final designations for the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard (77 FR 30088) Exit the TCEQ along with a final rulemaking to revoke transportation conformity under the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard. Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange Counties were designated attainment/unclassifiable under the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS, effective July 20, 2012.

1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Standard (1997 to Present)

On April 30, 2004, the EPA published final designations and classifications for the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard, effective July 15, 2005. The BPA nonattainment area was classified as marginal under the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard, with an attainment date of June 15, 2007. On October 27, 2004, the commission adopted a BPA SIP revision that included an attainment demonstration for the one-hour standard as well as one for the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard.

On September 28, 2005, the commission adopted another BPA SIP revision, which included another attainment demonstration for the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard and addressed the requirements for the one-hour standard that were not included in the October 2004 submission.

The BPA nonattainment area did not monitor attainment of the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard by the June 15, 2007, deadline (based on data from 2004 through 2006). As a result, the EPA reclassified the area to moderate with a new attainment date of June 15, 2010. More information about this final action is available through the Federal Register Exit the TCEQ.

As a result of monitoring data (2005 through 2007) showing that the BPA nonattainment area was attaining the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard, the commission adopted a BPA SIP revision that included a request to redesignate the area to attainment and a demonstration of continued maintenance of the ozone standard. The BPA redesignation request and maintenance plan SIP revision was adopted on December 10, 2008, and approved by the EPA effective November 19, 2010.

One-Hour Ozone Standard

Note: In 1997, the one-hour ozone standard was replaced by the more protective eight-hour ozone standard. The one-hour standard has been revoked in all areas, though some former one-hour ozone nonattainment areas have continuing obligations to comply with the anti-backsliding requirements described in 40 CFR 51.905(a).

The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) amendments authorized the EPA to designate areas that fail to meet the ozone standard as nonattainment and to classify them according to severity. The BPA area was originally classified as a serious ozone nonattainment area in 1991 and was required to meet the one-hour ozone standard by November 1999. Based on subsequent review of ozone monitoring data for the BPA nonattainment area, the EPA reclassified the BPA area as moderate, a less severe classification. The TCEQ adopted a series of SIP revisions, culminating in the "Super SIP" submitted in July 1996. The attainment deadline for the BPA moderate nonattainment area was November 1996, but the area failed to meet that deadline.

The TCEQ submitted a BPA attainment demonstration SIP revision in April 2000, which took into account the importance of local nitrogen oxides reductions as well as ozone transport from the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) ozone nonattainment area. Based on photochemical modeling that demonstrated ozone transport, the TCEQ requested an extension for attainment of the one-hour ozone standard in the BPA nonattainment area. The extended attainment date was November 15, 2007, which was the same attainment date as the HGB one-hour ozone nonattainment area. The EPA approved the BPA one-hour ozone attainment demonstration, along with this deadline extension, on May 14, 2001.

Environmental groups sued the EPA over extending attainment dates based on ozone transport. The BPA area was one of three areas in the nation affected by the lawsuits. On December 11, 2002, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA is not authorized by the FCAA to extend an area's attainment date based on transport. On June 19, 2003, the EPA proposed to reclassify the BPA area to either serious or severe, with a November 2005 attainment date for either classification.

On March 30, 2004, the EPA published its final withdrawal of approval of the BPA one-hour ozone attainment demonstration and attainment date extension. The EPA determined that the BPA area failed to attain the one-hour ozone standard by both the November 15, 1996, deadline for moderate areas and the November 15, 1999, deadline for serious areas. The BPA one-hour ozone nonattainment area was reclassified to serious on April 29, 2004, with a new attainment deadline of November 15, 2005.

On June 15, 2005, the EPA revoked the one-hour ozone standard. However, certain requirements for the one-hour standard remained in place after revocation to prevent air quality from degrading in former one-hour ozone standard nonattainment areas.

Comprehensive History of the Texas SIP

This SIP History gives a broad overview of the SIP revisions that have been submitted to the EPA by the State of Texas. Some sections may be obsolete or superseded by new revisions, but have been retained for the sake of historical completeness.