Note: This page has not been updated since funding expired and will not be updated until funding resumes.
In Texas air quality issues that are of concern include ozone, air toxics, haze and particulate matter.
Currently there are no areas in Texas that are out of compliance with the particulate matter (PM 2.5) regulations; however several areas (including Houston and Dallas) are very close. In addition, the EPA is considering revising the existing standards to more stringent levels, which will place many counties in Texas out of compliance. The EPA will announce the results of their evaluation of the PM 2.5 standard in September 2006.
There are two areas in Texas that violate the new EPA haze rule, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is currently working on their plan to improve visibility in these two areas and will submit a haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) for adoption by the commission in November 2007.
Currently there are no regulations governing the emission levels of toxic air chemicals such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene. There are, however, guidelines that the TCEQ has developed and recently reviewed with an independent analysis. TERC supports projects that improve the understanding of human exposure by examining the sources, chemistry and transport of air toxics.
The air pollutant that draws most attention and resources in Texas is ozone. Recently the EPA promulgated an 8-hour ozone standard, and removed the existing 1-hour standard. A "no back-sliding" rule was implemented, to prevent any losses from the work that was implemented or about to be implemented to meet the 1-hour standard. This change extended the amount of time allowed by the EPA for compliance; however the 8-hour standard, at 80 ppb ozone, is much harder to meet than the 1-hour standard at 120 ppb.
The air quality issues described on the on this web site are focused on meeting the 8-hour ozone standard for Houston, Dallas and other parts of east Texas. However, as more air toxics projects are implemented and completed, information will be added. Also, the issues regarding particulate matter and their impact on Texas will be followed closely.