Texas Challenges EPA’s Ozone Nonattainment Designation for El Paso County

On Friday, the state of Texas and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) November 2021 designation of El Paso County as a nonattainment area for ozone. The designation follows a ruling from the D.C. Circuit in July 2020, which required EPA to reconsider its prior 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) designations for El Paso County and 15 others pursuant to the process for designating attainment areas under Section 107(d) of the Clean Air Act. According to EPA, the revised ozone designations for these counties were based on air quality monitoring data from the years 2014-16, which were the most recent data that states were required to certify at the time the EPA notified states of its intended designations and any intended modifications to their recommendations in December 2017. As a nonattainment area, El Paso County must develop an plan to improve ozone air quality to meet NAAQS.