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ATA: Suggested Talking Points EPA's New Proposed Ozone Standard

The following talking points may be used to address inquiries regarding EPA’s new proposed ozone standard, announced Jan. 7, 2010

  • ATA supports EPA’s efforts to protect human health in establishing new air quality standards that are supported by sound science.

  • In 2008 the Bush Administration set the allowable 8-hour primary concentration of ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, at 75 parts per billion.

  • In September 2009, EPA Administrator Jackson announced that EPA would reconsider the 2008 limit set by the Bush Administration.

  • Prior to the change in 2008, the allowable 8-hour primary ozone standard had been 84 parts per billion.

  • Though it is a minute change, the new proposed 8-hour primary ozone standard of between 60 to 70 parts per billion is more restrictive than the prior limit of 75 parts per billion.

  • The EPA proposal presents a range for the allowable concentration of ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, from 60 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. That's equivalent to 60 to 70 tennis balls in an Olympic-sized swimming pool full of a billion tennis balls. EPA will select a specific figure within that range later this year.

  • Ground-level ozone, formed when nitrogen oxides (NOx) react with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight, has been linked to a variety of health issues. Removing NOx from the mix prevents the formation of ground-level ozone.

  • The proposed rule will have limited impacts on newer trucks given our industry’s on-going record of reducing our nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions over the last 22 years to today’s near-zero NOx levels. (EPA’s 2007 On-Road Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Emission Standards set the allowable level of NOx emissions at near-zero levels of 0.2 grams per brake horsepower-hour).

  • The proposed rule will have much greater impacts on stationary sources, off-road equipment, and passenger vehicles.

  • A final rule is expected to be issued by EPA by August 31, 2010.

  • Counties and states will have up to 20 years to meet the new limits, depending on how severely they are out of compliance.

  • Plans for areas designated as being out of compliance will be required to be submitted by the end of 2013 and states would be required to begin implementing their plans in 2014.

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