EPA Administrator Withdraws 1-Year Extension for 70 ppb Ozone Standard Designations

On August 2, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Federal Register notice (attached) reversing his decision issued in June to extend by one year (until October 1, 2018) the deadline for promulgating initial area designations for the 2015 (70 ppb) ozone NAAQS.  At the time, the Administrator indicated  that there was not adequate data available to finalize designations by the statutory deadline of October 1, 2017.

It appears EPA has now concluded a blanket extension of the designations deadline is not warranted.  Instead, the agency intends to move forward with making designations where appropriate later this year.  Specifically, the Federal Register notice indicates:

  • “EPA now intends to reassess whether there are areas with underlying technical issues, whether there are state designation recommendations that the EPA intends to modify, and whether for any area there is insufficient information to promulgate the designation.”
  • “The agency believes that there may be areas of the United States for which designations could be promulgated in the next few months.”
  • “The Administrator may still determine that an extension of time to complete designations is necessary, but is not making such a determination at this time.”

An EPA press release announcing this action is available at https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-continues-work-states-2015-ozone-designations.