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EPA designates ozone areas

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - San Antonio area in dispute
ContactAndrea Morrow
After Hrs512-239-5000

The TCEQ supports and appreciates the EPA’s final decision to designate Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson Counties as Attainment/Unclassifiable for the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. However, the TCEQ disagrees with the EPA’s decision to designate Bexar County as nonattainment for the 2015 ozone NAAQS as this action creates an unnecessary burden on the residents, industry, and governing bodies of Bexar County without any associated benefit from an air quality perspective. 

Governor Abbott’s recommendation was to designate Bexar County in attainment of the 2015 NAAQS for ozone. The EPA had the discretion to support Governor Abbott’s recommendation, but chose to designate Bexar County as nonattainment. The EPA’s blatant disregard for Cooperative Federalism in not supporting Governor Abbott’s recommendation shows the disconnect between states and Washington D.C.

The EPA’s decision can have a negative impact on economic growth and citizens in Bexar County for decades to come when the area is expected to come into compliance with the federal standard by the required date without further intervention (or a nonattainment designation). Specifically, the EPA and the Alamo Area Council of Government’s modeling both predict that Bexar County is already expected to meet the federal air quality standard by 2023. 2023 is the first year in which Texas might have to demonstrate attainment through modeling in an attainment demonstration plan. Given this information in particular, the TCEQ does not see how the EPA’s decision to disagree with the Texas designation recommendation and designated Bexar County as nonattainment benefits Texans. The TCEQ will be reaching out to and working with local stakeholders to address this nonattainment designation.