A proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten ozone standards threatens to put hundreds of communities across the U.S. out of compliance with the Clean Air Act (CAA) and, in turn, place federal highway funds for those areas at risk, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) recently said.
Nick Goldstein, an ARTBA attorney, presented the transportation construction industry's views Monday, March 5, before the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) hearing on its "Final Ozone Staff Paper." ARTBA was the only construction association to testify.
Goldstein said the agency's proposal "would delay critically needed improvements to our nation's infrastructure, which has already reached 'critical mass' in terms of being able to serve the needs of our citizens and economy." He cited the EPA's own data showing the transportation sector has significantly reduced ozone levels over the past several decades-without tighter federal standards. The decline has occurred despite overwhelming growth in the U.S. economy, population, vehicle miles traveled and energy consumption, ARTBA said.
Recently enacted regulations to reduce sulfur levels in gasoline, and emissions in heavy-duty diesel engines, trucks and highway vehicles will lead to even more improvements in air quality, Goldstein testified. He called on CASAC to take notice of such progress in reducing overall ozone levels before making new public policy decisions, which would result in further regulation.