State, tribal, and/or local governments can participate in Ozone Advance if they meet the basic program eligibility criteria:
- The area(s) with respect to which the state, tribe, and/or local government is signing up is/are not designated nonattainment for either the 1997 8-hour or the 2008 ozone NAAQS.
- The state, tribe, and/or local government must generally identify the area(s) with respect to which they are signing up.
- Where possible, states, tribes, and/or local governments should identify and be able to report on the air monitor(s) that reflect the air quality in the area(s).
- Required emissions inventory reporting must have occurred prior to participation in Ozone Advance.
Eventual Marginal Areas: Areas that were not yet designated nonattainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (i.e., the effective date of final designations for the 2008 ozone NAAQS had not yet arrived) at the time a sign-up letter was submitted to EPA are eligible to participate. States, tribes, and/or local governments that had already signed up for Ozone Advance are able to continue to participate in the program if the area of concern was eventually designated nonattainment and classified Marginal. Such an area would not be exempt from any requirements that apply. If the area continues to violate and is not eligible for the Clean Air Act’s one-year extensions, it will be reclassified to a higher classification. Although the state, tribe, and/or local government would not be able to continue participating in Ozone Advance with respect to the area, the efforts they pursued under Ozone Advance should not end, but would transition into SIP planning efforts.
Maintenance Areas: Areas that have been redesignated to attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS and that have an approved maintenance plan may participate in Ozone Advance. These areas must implement their maintenance plans as approved. Participation in Ozone Advance would not relieve any area from any requirements to which they are otherwise subject under the Act or EPA’s regulations. Measures and programs undertaken as part of Ozone Advance would be in addition to those included in the approved SIP, and could provide the area with a buffer against future violations.
Nonattainment Areas That Are Currently Attaining: An area that is designated nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour and/or 2008 ozone NAAQS, but that is currently attaining the ozone NAAQS may not sign up for Ozone Advance until the area has been redesignated attainment with an approved maintenance plan. However, early progress can still be made. If a state has submitted a maintenance plan to EPA, then pending EPA approval of the plan EPA could consult with you and provide some level of assistance. Full participation in Ozone Advance would not occur until the area has been redesignated attainment with an approved maintenance plan, and has met the other program eligibility criteria.
Early Action Compact and Ozone Flex Areas: Ozone Advance is the program EPA is offering to provide assistance to areas interested in taking steps to stay in attainment of the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Former Early Action Compact (EAC) areas and current and former 8-hour Ozone Flex areas that meet the Ozone Advance program eligibility criteria are encouraged to participate in Ozone Advance. Some of the action plans developed as part of the 8-hour Ozone Flex program are still in effect, and some of the areas are considering renewing their existing plans in order to be consistent with maintaining the 2008 ozone NAAQS of 0.075ppm. Areas that have current Ozone Flex action plans associated with maintaining the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS of 0.08ppm are encouraged to continue working with EPA in the same manner under the auspices of Ozone Advance. EPA expects these areas to operate under Ozone Advance with the same level of rigor as they have been implementing in Ozone Flex, given that the current Ozone Flex areas have demonstrated success in maintaining the 1997 ozone NAAQS.
Please contact Laura Bunte, EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, at (919) 541-0889 or ADVANCE@epa.gov if you have questions about eligibility.