FET History tied to Wisconsin Journey to Attain the Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally announced that it had approved the request from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to re-designate the Milwaukee-Racine Area to attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard.  The former nonattainment area includes the counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha.  This area and others in the state were originally determined to be non-attainment for photochemical oxidants in the early 1970s following implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970.  Originally, the Clean Air Act required that the air quality standards be attained by 1977.

Following the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, the photochemical oxidant standard was replaced by the standard for ozone and the non-attainment areas were formally designated.  Over the years, the ozone air quality standard has been revised, the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, but throughout this period, the Milwaukee-Racine area had continuously been classified as a nonattainment area.  In 2008, the U.S. EPA issued an additional, more stringent, 8-hour ozone standard of 75 ppb.  For the 2008 8-hour ozone standard, only Sheboygan County and a portion of Kenosha County (essentially east of I-94) are considered nonattainment.

The long journey to attainment began with the state adopting “Reasonably Available Control Technology (or RACT)” standards for sources of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions, targeting an 18 county area that essentially included intersected and east of line that could be drawn essentially from Green Bay to Madison to Beloit.  Recognizing the potential for transport of pollutants across that line, and with consideration for economic fairness, certain sources throughout the state were also subject to many of these regulations.  A few short years later, with pending deadlines to comply with these new emission standards and others adopted in 1981, FET was formed with the vision that industries in Wisconsin could share best practices.

On September 19, the FET Air Committee will host a presentation by WDNR on the implications of the at the Southeast Region Headquarters, 2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Milwaukee, beginning at 3:00 pm in Room 140.  DNR staff will discuss the process of reaching attainment, the resulting impacts on construction and operating permit programs in the former non-attainment area, status of proposed revisions to the state implementation plan, the plan to maintain attainment, and the remaining challenges for ozone attainment, the reconsideration of the ozone standard and potential impacts, as well as Implementation of the 1-hour standards for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and the current status and pending consideration for revision of the standards for particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).

Please join us to celebrate this landmark accomplishment and to learn about the challenges to come.


Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements; Congressional Research Center; January 6, 2011

USEPA:  Ozone (O3) Standards – Table of Historical Ozone NAAQS



Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 147 / page 45252/ Tuesday, July 31, 2012