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EPA Finalizes the Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone NAAQS: An Overview

On March 15, 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The plan addresses the interstate transport of ozone pollution and aims to reduce emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone, commonly known as "smog." This article provides an objective overview of the Good Neighbor Plan, its goals, and its implications.



The Challenge of Ozone Pollution


Ground-level ozone is a pollutant formed by the chemical reaction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from sources such as industrial facilities, power plants, motor vehicles, and other combustion processes contribute to the formation of ozone. High concentrations of ozone can negatively impact respiratory health and contribute to environmental issues.


A key characteristic of ozone pollution is its ability to travel across state lines, affecting air quality in downwind states. As a result, some states may face challenges in achieving compliance with EPA-established ozone NAAQS, even if they have implemented measures to reduce emissions within their borders.


Overview of the Good Neighbor Plan


The Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone NAAQS aims to address the issue of interstate transport of ozone pollution. The plan outlines a regulatory framework to reduce emissions that "significantly contribute" to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the ozone NAAQS in downwind states.


Under the Clean Air Act, states are required to submit State Implementation Plans (SIPs) that detail measures to reduce emissions contributing to ozone pollution in other states. The EPA reviews SIPs to ensure they are in compliance with federal requirements and are effective in achieving the goals of the NAAQS.


The Good Neighbor Plan provides guidelines for states to develop and submit SIPs that target emissions contributing to interstate transport of ozone pollution. The EPA's role is to assess and approve these plans, and to work collaboratively with states to address air quality concerns.


Implications of the Good Neighbor Plan


The implementation of the Good Neighbor Plan has implications for states, industry, and the public. The plan provides a structured approach for states to address interstate ozone transport and work toward compliance with the 2015 Ozone NAAQS. As states develop and submit SIPs, the EPA will evaluate their effectiveness in reducing emissions that contribute to ozone formation.


The Good Neighbor Plan also has implications for industry sectors that are sources of NOx and VOC emissions. These sectors may be subject to regulations and emissions reduction measures outlined in the SIPs. The intent is to achieve reductions in emissions that contribute to ozone pollution and improve overall air quality.


Ultimately, the Good Neighbor Plan aims to benefit public health and the environment by reducing ozone concentrations and minimizing the negative effects of ozone pollution.


Conclusion


The Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone NAAQS is a regulatory framework established by the EPA to address the challenge of interstate transport of ozone pollution. By providing guidelines for states to reduce emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone, the plan seeks to improve air quality and achieve compliance with the 2015 Ozone NAAQS. The EPA's role is to review and approve SIPs, collaborate with states, and monitor the effectiveness of the plan in achieving its objectives.





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