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Ozone Transport Region Expansion Petition - December 9, 2013

The following is the content of a letter sent to Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator. The letter was signed on December 9, 2013 by Joseph J. Martens, Commissioner.

As allowed by §176A of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the undersigned states hereby submit the attached petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting EPA to add the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to the Ozone Transport Region (OTR). We believe these states are the most significant contributors to continued ozone standard violations in the OTR and that expansion of the region will result in more emission reductions, a fairer distribution of the burdens of controlling air pollution (ozone), and a level economic playing field.

The OTR was established under CAA §184 to help the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states address transported air pollution. Decades of research have shown that transported pollution encompasses a broader area than was understood when the Clean Air Act was written. Based on our widened understanding of transport, the requested expansion will help address longer range transport. Section 176A permits EPA to add one or more states to the OTR if EPA has reason to believe that such states are significantly contributing to violations of the ozone standard in the transport region. The attached petition and technical support document establish that the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are significantly contributing to violations of the ozone standard, not just in the undersigned states, but throughout the Ozone Transport Region. We urge you to grant the attached petition.

Transported air pollution is a major cause of continued nonattainment of the ozone standard in the OTR and in many states upwind of the OTR. States within the OTR have adopted stringent controls at significant cost. Continued nonattainment burdens our economies and deters economic growth. States outside of the OTR are not required to install the same basic controls on a statewide basis but only in nonattainment areas, and they sometimes seek and obtain waivers from even that limited obligation. We believe expansion of the transport region and implementation of the required controls in upwind states are necessary for all of the OTR to achieve attainment in a timely manner. We also believe that the consultation process that is such an important part of the Ozone Transport Commission's (OTC) activities can benefit all states in an expanded OTR in the assessment of the ozone transport problem and result in the development of effective solutions.

We acknowledge that EPA has been hampered by recent court rulings in its earlier attempts to address transport and is now moving forward on an expedited schedule to complete modeling and develop a new transport regulation. We support these efforts, but also believe that there is significant additional benefit to be gained through the OTC's collaborative process in an expanded transport region. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to grant this petition, which recognizes that upwind states are a major contributor to the current ozone problem in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and are a necessary part of the transport solution.

Daniel C. Esty, Connecticut
Collin P. O'Mara, Delaware
Robert M. Summers, Ph.D., Maryland
Kenneth L. Kimmell, Massachusetts
Thomas S. Burack, New Hampshire
Joseph J. Martens, New York
Janet Coit, Rhode Island
David K. Mears, Vermont

Important Note: On December 10, 2013, an amended petition and technical support document were sent electronically to EPA in order to add Pennsylvania to the list of petitioners. The amended petition and amended technical support document are available in the "Important Links" section of this page.