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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Air Actions, California

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Final Approval of Santa Barbara Ozone Plan Revision: Factsheet

What is EPA Approving?

We are approving all elements of the 1998 Clean Air Plan (CAP), which was adopted by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD) on December 29, 1998. The California Air Resources Board approved the plan and submitted it to EPA on March 19, 1999, as a revision to the federally approved State Implementation Plan (SIP). The 1998 CAP addresses the Clean Air Act requirements for submittal of a plan showing how local and State authorities would meet the federal public health standards for ozone for residents of Santa Barbara by the statutory deadline of November 15, 1999. Since submittal of the plan, Santa Barbara County has attained the Federal 1-hour ozone standard by recording 3 consecutive years with an average of no more than one exceedance of the standard per year at any monitoring location.

Why was the plan developed?

Under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, Santa Barbara was originally classified as a "moderate" nonattainment area, and was then required to submit a plan showing attainment by 1996. After this plan was submitted in 1994, the area experienced violations preventing attainment by the 1996 deadline. As a result, the County was bumped up in 1997 from a "moderate" to a "serious" classification, and required to submit a new plan in 1998 demonstrating attainment of the ozone standard by November 15, 1999. The County also needed to meet several other Clean Air Act requirements for serious areas, including adoption of a plan showing reasonable further progress in reducing emission reductions by at least 24% since passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

What is EPA specifically approving?

In this action, we are specifically approving the plan with respect to the Clean Air Act requirements for emissions inventories, control measures, attainment demonstration, quantitative milestones, reasonable further progress and emissions budgets.

What are the consequences of EPA's approval?

Final approval of the new ozone plan establishes this plan as the federally approved and enforceable ozone SIP for Santa Barbara County with respect to the elements listed above. The revised plan does not change the SIP with respect to local control measures that were not amended by the 1998 CAP, local transportation control measures for which the 1998 CAP augments the measures and projects included in the 1994 CAP, and the State's control measures for mobile sources, fuels, and consumer products, which were submitted in 1994.

What is next?

Before the County can be redesignated to "attainment" for the federal 1-hour ozone standard, the State and SBCAPCD need to prepare, adopt, and submit a plan that shows how the standard will be maintained for the next 10 years. The maintenance plan will need to include growth projections, an ambient air quality assessment, and contingency measures as appropriate to ensure that the standards are maintained.

What are the health consequences of ozone?

In the upper atmosphere, ozone occurs naturally and protects people from the sun's ultraviolet radiation. At ground-level, ozone results from pollution and can harm human health and the environment. Ground-level ozone is the primary constituent of smog. Exposure to ambient ozone concentrations, even at relatively low levels and for brief periods of time, can cause respiratory symptoms such as reduction in lung function, chest pain, and cough. Repeated exposure can make people more susceptible to respiratory infection and lung inflammation, and can aggravate preexisting respiratory diseases such as asthma, particularly in children.

How is Santa Barbara County's air quality today?

Santa Barbara County recorded its highest ozone concentrations in the mid-1970s. Despite significant population growth since then, the SBCAPCD has made excellent progress in reducing emissions within the County, frequently by employing innovative partnerships with industry. Much credit is also owed to strong California State standards for motor vehicles, fuels, and consumer products. Santa Barbara has now attained all of the federal air quality standards – ozone, particulate matter (dust), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead -- although the County will not be formally designated attainment for ozone until a maintenance plan has been approved, as discussed above.

What are my opportunities to find out more?

The 1998 CAP is available electronically on the SBCAPCD's Web site Exiting EPA (disclaimer) . Questions should be addressed to Dave Jesson, Air Planning Office (air-2), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3901, (415) 972-3957 or jesson.david@epa.gov.

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