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North Texas loses tons

Release Date: 12/17/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Country’s fourth-largest metro area becomes first for clean air

(Dallas, Texas – December 17, 2008) The Environmental Protection Agency has given final approval to the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) clean air plan for ozone, making the region the first in the nation to receive such an endorsement.

Under the plan, ozone-forming pollutants will be reduced by 88 tons per day, and officials expect air quality in the area to meet the federal ozone standard of 84 parts per billion (ppb) by 2010.

“With this plan, more than six million residents who call the Dallas-Fort Worth area home will be breathing cleaner, healthier air,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “To be the first in the nation to develop a viable plan to reduce ozone is significant in itself. But to have done it while also balancing the needs of a growing population and vibrant economy makes it even more remarkable.”

The clean air plan, referred to as the State Implementation Plan, or SIP, will improve air quality by more than 55 percent over 1999 levels, which, in combination with previous plans, will result in a total of 409 tons per day of ozone pollution reduction.

This summer, the DFW area had the lowest levels of ozone in three decades. This year the area had 32 fewer days when air monitors exceeded the smog standard than in the late 1990s -- a reduction of 78 percent.

“Continuation of this trend in the improvement of DFW air quality puts the area on course to achieve compliance with the new health-based standards announced by the EPA Administrator earlier this year,” Greene continued.

EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality collaborated with businesses, governments, and communities from across the area to ensure the plan would achieve the needed ozone reductions. The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) and AirCheckTexas program were major contributors to the plan’s effectiveness. Together, the programs are providing more than $100 million this year to help get older, more polluting heavy-duty engines and vehicles off the road. Since its start in 2001, TERP has provided more than $545 million in grants for replacing and retrofitting older diesel engines, with another $140 million in applications under consideration. This total is more than any other state in the nation, and TERP now serves as a national model.

Other ozone reductions in the plan came from work by the North Central Texas Council of Governments and emissions reductions from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field. Further reductions under the plan will come from controls on thousands of North Texas natural gas compressor engines, cement plants, power plants, and back-up generators used by business and industry.

More information on the Dallas-Fort Worth clean air plan is available on our Web site at http://www.epa.gov/region6.

An EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio121708_dfw_sip_approval.

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