Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted petitions to reconsider air quality standards for ground-level ozone pollution set under the Trump administration in December 2020. Petitions were filed by a number of states, including New York, California, and the District of Columbia as well as various environmental groups. Currently, both primary and secondary ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards remain at their 2015 levels of 70 parts per billion (ppb) over an eight-hour period.
In support of the petition for reconsideration, the petitioners asserted that several studies — either arising after the close of public comments or otherwise not considered in EPA’s December 2020 rulemaking — indicate that the current 70 ppb standard is neither protective of public health with an adequate margin of safety nor sufficient to protect the public welfare as required by the Clean Air Act. Direct challenges to the December 2020 rule are also pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; however, in light of EPA’s forthcoming reconsideration, the agency is now asking the court to hold the cases in abeyance until December 15, 2023 (click here).