HOUSTON AIR OZONE LEVELS DROPPING
(AUSTIN) — The Houston area is well on its way to meeting EPA standards for ground-level ozone concentration, according to testimony offered at Tuesday's Senate Natural Resources Committee. The eight counties in and around the Houston area have been labeled a non-attainment area by federal regulators, meaning the concentration of ozone exists above acceptable levels. High concentrations of ozone at ground level can lead to respiratory problems.
Craig Beskid, who chairs the Greater Houston Partnership's Clean Air Committee, reported that 8-hour ozone levels in the Houston area have dropped from 220 parts per billion (ppb) in 1991 to 96 ppb in 2007 and 87 ppb through summer 2008. "While the new 75 ppb ozone standard attainment date has not been established for our area, the Houston region continues to implement clean air strategies to work toward achieving this new standard as well as the 84 ppb ozone standard by its 2019 attainment date," he said.
In addition to Chairman Averitt, the Senate Natural Resources Committee is vice-Chaired by Senator Craig Estes, and consists of Senators Bob Deuell, Kim Brimer, Carlos Uresti, Kel Seliger, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Glenn Hegar, Mike Jackson, Kevin Eltife and Robert Duncan.