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Houston-Galveston-Brazoria: Ozone History

Background and history of Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) area compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone.

2008 Eight-Hour Ozone NAAQS (2008 to Present)

On March 27, 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened the primary and secondary eight-hour ozone NAAQS to 0.075 parts per million (ppm) (73 FR 16436) Exit the TCEQ. On March 10, 2009, the governor recommended to the EPA that only counties already designated nonattainment for the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller) be designated nonattainment for the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS. (See the governor's 2009 designation recommendation letter.) Exit the TCEQ

In September 2009, the EPA announced it would reconsider the 2008 ozone NAAQS. On January 19, 2009, the EPA proposed to lower the primary ozone NAAQS to a range of 0.060–0.070 ppm and proposed a separate secondary NAAQS based on cumulative seasonal average ozone concentrations. On September 2, 2011, President Obama announced that he had requested the EPA withdraw the proposed reconsidered ozone NAAQS.

In a September 22, 2011 memo from EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy, the EPA announced that it would proceed with initial area designations under the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS, starting with the recommendations states made in 2009 and updating them with the most current, certified air quality data (2008 through 2010). On October 31, 2011, the governor sent a revised recommendation to the EPA that the same counties (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller) included in the March 10, 2009 governor’s recommendation be designated nonattainment for the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS. (See the governor's 2011 revised designation recommendation letter.) Exit the TCEQ

The EPA sent a letter to the governor on December 9, 2011 responding to the state's recommendations for area designations under the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS. (See the EPA's 2011 response to the revised recommendation.) Exit the TCEQ In that letter, the EPA indicated that it intended to modify the state's recommended HGB nonattainment area designation to include Matagorda County.

On May 21, 2012, the EPA published final designations for the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS in the Federal Register (77 FR 30088) Exit the TCEQ. An eight-county HGB area including Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller Counties was designated nonattainment and classified marginal under the 2008 eight-hour ozone NAAQS effective July 20, 2012. The HGB area includes the same eight counties that were designated nonattainment under the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS. Matagorda County was designated attainment/unclassifiable. The attainment deadline for the HGB marginal nonattainment area is December 31, 2015.

1997 Eight-Hour Ozone NAAQS (1997 to Present)

Note: The HGB area (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller Counties) is currently classified severe nonattainment for the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS, with an attainment deadline of June 15, 2019.

On July 18, 1997, the EPA published the revised NAAQS for ground-level ozone in the Federal Register (62 FR 38856) Exit the TCEQ, and it became effective on September 16, 1997. The EPA phased out and replaced the previous one-hour ozone NAAQS with an eight-hour NAAQS set at 0.08 ppm based on the three-year average of the annual fourth-highest daily maximum eight-hour average ozone concentrations measured at each monitor within an area.

Effective June 15, 2004, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller Counties were designated nonattainment in the first phase of the EPA's implementation rule for the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS (69 FR 23951) Exit the TCEQ. The HGB area was classified moderate nonattainment for the standard, with an attainment deadline of June 15, 2010. The TCEQ was required to submit a state implementation plan (SIP) revision for the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS to the EPA by June 15, 2007. The EPA addressed the control obligations that apply to areas designated nonattainment for the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS in the second phase of the implementation rule (70 FR 71612) Exit the TCEQ.

The commission adopted the 2007 HGB 1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area SIP revision on May 23, 2007 as the first step in addressing the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS in the HGB area. The revision included additional Voluntary Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Program (VMEP) commitments, an analysis of reasonably available control technology (RACT), and the Texas 2002 Periodic Emissions Inventory for the HGB ozone nonattainment area. The SIP revision also incorporated amendments to 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 114, relating to the Texas low emission diesel (TxLED) rule for certain marine fuels and 30 TAC Chapter 115, relating to the control of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from storage and degassing operations in the HGB area. On April 2, 2013, the EPA published approval of the RACT analysis and the VMEP commitments in this SIP revision (78 FR 19599) Exit the TCEQ.

The commission also adopted the 2007 HGB 1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area Reasonable Further Progress (RFP) SIP revision on May 23, 2007, which demonstrated that a required 15% emissions reduction in ozone precursors (VOC and nitrogen oxides (NOX) would be met for the 2001 through 2008 RFP analysis period. On April 22, 2009, the EPA published approval of this SIP revision, the associated motor vehicle emission budgets (MVEB), and the 2002 base year emissions inventory (74 FR 18298) Exit the TCEQ.

On June 15, 2007, the state requested that the HGB area be reclassified from a moderate to a severe nonattainment area for the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS, with an attainment deadline of June 15, 2019. (See the governor's 2007 reclassification request letter.)

On December 31, 2007, the EPA published its proposal to grant the governor's request and took comments on a range of dates for the state to submit a revised SIP (72 FR 74252) Exit the TCEQ. The TCEQ provided comments to the EPA that supported the reclassification and justification for an April 2010 SIP submission date. (See the TCEQ's comments concerning the EPA's proposed redesignation.)

On October 1, 2008, the EPA published approval of the governor's request to voluntarily reclassify the HGB ozone nonattainment area from a moderate to a severe nonattainment area for the 1997 ozone NAAQS (73 FR 56983) Exit the TCEQ effective October 31, 2008. The EPA set April 15, 2010 as the date for the state to submit a revised SIP addressing the severe-ozone nonattainment requirements. The HGB area's new attainment deadline for the 1997 ozone NAAQS is as expeditious as practicable but no later than June 15, 2019.

On March 10, 2010, the commission adopted two revisions to the Texas SIP for the HGB ozone nonattainment area. The 2010 HGB Attainment Demonstration SIP Revision for the 1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Standard includes a photochemical modeling analysis and a weight of evidence analysis to demonstrate attainment of the 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS by the June 15, 2019 deadline. This SIP revision also includes MVEBs, VOC and NOX RACT analyses, Reasonably Available Control Measures (RACM) analysis, contingency plan, and a mid-course review commitment. In addition, this SIP revision incorporates revisions to 30 TAC Chapters 101 and 115, also adopted on March 10, 2010, which include the Mass Emissions Cap and Trade (MECT) Program Cap Integrity, the Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds (HRVOC) Emissions Cap and Trade (HECT) Program Cap Reduction and Allowance Reallocation, and the VOC Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) Update for offset lithographic printing. On April 2, 2013, the EPA published its approval of the RACT analysis in this SIP revision (78 FR 19599) Exit the TCEQ.

The 2010 HGB RFP SIP Revision for the 1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Standard, as required by the EPA, demonstrates that an 18% emissions reduction requirement will be met for the 2002 through 2008 RFP analysis period and that an average of 3% per year emissions reduction will occur between each of the milestone years 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, and 2018. This SIP revision establishes baseline emission levels, calculates reduction targets, identifies control strategies to meet emission target levels, and tracks actual emission reductions against established emissions growth. This revision also includes an MVEB for each milestone year and a contingency plan. On January 25, 2011, the EPA published a notice of its determination that the MVEBs in the March 10, 2010 SIP revisions, which were developed using the on-road mobile source emissions inventories based on the EPA's MOBILE 6.2 model, were adequate for transportation conformity purposes (76 FR 4342) Exit the TCEQ.

On December 7, 2011, the commission adopted the 2011 HGB RACT Analysis Update SIP Revision for the 1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Standard. This SIP revision updates the RACT analysis for VOC emission sources to include the seven CTG documents issued by the EPA from 2006 through 2008 that were not addressed in the 2010 HGB Attainment Demonstration SIP revision. This SIP revision incorporates concurrent CTG-related rulemaking that revises Chapter 115, Subchapter E to implement RACT for those CTG emission source categories in the HGB area.

On April 23, 2013, the commission adopted the 2013 HGB 1997 Eight-Hour Ozone Standard Nonattainment Area MVEB Update SIP Revision. This SIP revision updates on-road mobile source emissions inventories and MVEBs for the HGB area using the EPA's latest mobile emissions estimation model, the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES). This SIP revision also meets the primary obligation of the mid-course review commitment in the 2010 HGB attainment demonstration SIP revision by demonstrating that the outstanding 3% contingency requirement is fulfilled. Updated on-road inventories and emissions analysis based on the EPA’s August 30, 2012 vehicle miles traveled offset guidance and a modified version of the MOVES model demonstrate compliance with Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) requirements for transportation control measures in severe nonattainment areas.

One-Hour Ozone NAAQS

Note: In 1997, the one-hour ozone NAAQS was replaced by the more protective eight-hour ozone NAAQS. Although the EPA revoked the one-hour ozone NAAQS in June 2005, some former one-hour ozone nonattainment areas have continuing obligations to comply with the anti-backsliding requirements described in 40 Code of Federal Regulations §51.905(a).

In 1990, the eight-county HGB one-hour ozone nonattainment area was classified as severe 17 according to the FCAA. At that time, the FCAA also required submission of a SIP revision describing actions to be taken to reduce NOX and VOC by November 1996. Before that deadline, however, modeling showed uncertainties in the actual impact that NOX reductions would have on ground-level ozone formation. The HGB area was therefore granted a temporary exemption until December 1997 to fulfill its NOX attainment requirements, after which the HGB area was given a new attainment deadline of November 15, 2007.

The 2000 HGB One-Hour Ozone Attainment Demonstration SIP revision was adopted on December 6, 2000 with a November 15, 2007 attainment date. The attainment demonstration contained numerous air pollution control measures. A 2001 Follow-Up HGB Attainment Demonstration SIP revision was adopted in September 2001 that incorporated revisions to several control strategies. On November 14, 2001, the EPA published approval of these SIP revisions (66 FR 57159) Exit the TCEQ.

The commission incorporated additional revisions with the 2002 One-Hour Ozone Attainment Demonstration SIP revision, which was adopted on December 13, 2002. These revisions addressed: (1) the agreements contained in the consent order arising from the litigation with the Business Coalition for Clean Air Appeal Group and several industrial companies and (2) the incorporation of energy efficiency measures and the protocol for the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.

On October 27, 2004, the commission adopted the 2004 HGB One-Hour Ozone Post 1999 Rate-of-Progress (ROP) SIP revision. This revision updated the emissions inventories, ROP budgets, and MVEBs for the area. On February 14, 2005, the EPA published approval of this SIP revision (70 FR 7407) Exit the TCEQ.

On December 1, 2004, the commission adopted the 2004 HGB One-Hour Ozone Attainment Demonstration Mid-Course Review SIP revision, reflecting a strategy based on reducing NOX and point source HRVOC rather than NOX alone. This revision contained results of photochemical modeling and technical documentation in support of the one-hour ozone attainment demonstration by November 15, 2007. The revision changed a number of NOX control strategies and added the HRVOC emission reduction requirements. On September 6, 2006, the EPA published approval of the HGB area’s one-hour ozone attainment demonstration and associated rules (71 FR 52656) Exit the TCEQ. The approval was published in six parts, covering the rules for the control of HRVOC, the one-hour ozone attainment plan, the HECT Program for HRVOC, the MECT Program for NOX, the Emissions Credit Banking and Trading program, and the Discrete Emissions Credit Banking and Trading program.

On June 19, 2012, the EPA published a final determination that the HGB area failed to attain the one-hour ozone NAAQS by its November 15, 2007 attainment deadline (77 FR 36400) Exit the TCEQ. Although the EPA revoked the one-hour ozone NAAQS, states must continue to meet two one-hour ozone anti-backsliding requirements that are triggered by a finding of failure to attain by the applicable attainment date: contingency measures and FCAA, §185 major stationary source fee programs. Reductions from contingency measures have already been achieved in the HGB area, and a final determination of failure to attain does not trigger additional emission reductions. However, a final determination of failure to attain by the area's one-hour attainment date triggers the one-hour anti-backsliding obligation to implement the penalty fee program under FCAA, §182(d)(3) and §185, unless that obligation is terminated. On May 22, 2013, the commission adopted rules under 30 TAC Chapter 101, Subchapter B to implement these FCAA provisions. (See the SIP Section 185 Fees Web page.)

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.