Board of Directors – July 10, 2024: Air Quality Update


DATE: July 10, 2024

TO: PPACG Board of Directors

FROM: Andrew Gunning, Executive Director

SUBJECT: Air Quality Update

ACTION REQUESTED: Information Only


SUMMARY

The Board has been updated a number of times over the past couple years regarding our air quality challenges in the region.  The Board has expressed interest in seeing what options exist in dealing with our ground-level ozone issues.  This was particularly the case with the high levels of “background” emissions we experience in our region, but where we have no ability to control those emissions.  Although we still attain the federal EPA standards for ground-level ozone, we are very close to the limits and are at-risk of potentially being reclassified to non-attainment in the future when EPA conducts its next review.  A non-attainment reclassification would be a costly and lengthy period (20+ years) of additional regulatory requirements.  One concern we have is although progress is being made to reduce emissions that we do have some control over, we are still at risk of a potential non-attainment designation for reasons that are out of our control. 

As such, we have been engaging with our peer regions across the Intermountain West states on the matter of “background” and non-locally controllable pollution, since we all are challenged with the same issues (but our issues are unique to the Intermountain West region). I’ll provide an update on recent conversations and developments during the Board meeting.  One of the topics will be that our Intermountain West coalition desires to move this issue forward with a letter to be submitted to the EPA Administrator signed by all these western regions with specific requests.  A preliminary draft is being drafted and will be provided prior to the July board meeting.   

Also, the Governors of four states in the west (Colorado, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming) have also weighed in on this issue, and together they submitted a letter to President Biden expressing the same concerns that our Intermountain West group has been conveying to the EPA.  That letter by the governors is attached, along with a recent response by the EPA.

STRATEGIC PLAN GOALS

Advocacy: Serve as an effective advocacy voice for common ground issues.

Information Sharing: Serve as a significant resource for PPACG members to collect and share information with regional partners.

Aging: Expand and extend senior access, awareness, education, and connectivity to support age-friendly communities and empower individual seniors.

Transportation: Maintain and improve a coordinated, validated plan for transportation needs across the PPACG region.

Program Excellence: Continue to excel in the key fundamental areas of PPACG:  Military support, Environmental programs, Transportation, Area Agency on Aging, and regional communication and collaboration.