EPA Federal Ozone Standard Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                

September 23, 2011

Dave Van Mullem, Director, 805-961-8853
Mary Byrd, Public Information Officer, 805-961-8833

Note:  Since this announcement was issued, EPA indicated it could accept 2009-2011 data for Santa Barbara County, and the County would be considered in attainment of the standard.

Santa Barbara County Considered Marginal Nonattainment

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday that it will implement the 2008 federal eight-hour ozone standard of 0.075 parts per million (ppm), and in a preliminary statement listed Santa Barbara County as a probable nonattainment area with a classification of marginal.

EPA announced it will issue final designations and classifications in mid 2012. Ground-level ozone is a principal component of smog.   District Director Dave Van Mullem said, “We have seen declining ozone levels in Santa Barbara County over the past decades. So our local air quality is improving, but the standards have changed as we learn more about the health effects caused by ozone.”

If the county’s final designation is nonattainment for ozone, there will be additional air quality planning requirements. EPA noted that it expected many of the marginal areas to reach attainment by 2015, based on rules already in place. “Santa Barbara County will strive to achieve attainment by 2015,” said Van Mullem.

Implementation of the 2008 ozone standard was delayed, and the County was considered in attainment of the previous federal eight-hour ozone standard of 0.08 ppm. The County is currently not in attainment of California’s eight-hour ozone standard of 0.070 ppm, and has issued a Clean Air Plan and associated control measures with the goal of attaining this standard.

Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides and reactive organic gases react chemically in the presence of sunlight and heat. Ozone damages lungs and respiratory systems.It is known to harm lung development in children over time, has a role in causing early childhood asthma, and produces a range of respiratory symptoms in children and adults.

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