The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week issued a final rule to tighten air quality standards and reduce ground-level ozone, more commonly known as smog. The rule will require power plants, manufacturers and agricultural operations to limit emission of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, which react in sunlight to create ground-level ozone. Some food manufacturing equipment, such as boilers, may emit these compounds.
The rule tightens the standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb), down from the existing standard of 75 ppb. EPA had considered implementing a standard between 65 ppb and 70 ppb.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQSs) to limit the level of criteria pollutants, including ozone. EPA must review these air quality standards every five years, and the last review for ozone standards occurred in 2008 when EPA set the standard at 75 ppb.
Once EPA establishes the NAAQS for a pollutant, each state must develop a State Implementation Plan (SIP) that identifies sources of air pollution and determines what reductions are required to meet the federal air quality standards. Currently, approximately a third of the regions in the United States are out of compliance with the 75 ppb standard.
IDFA is talking with members to determine whether they will be adversely affected by this new rule.
For more information, contact Emily Lyons, IDFA’s director of regulatory affairs and counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.