During the first half of January 2009, the NC Division of Air Quality (DAQ) will host a series of five public meetings throughout the state to present preliminary projections for 8-hour ozone non-attainment boundaries in North Carolina and seeks feedback regarding the new boundaries. The governor must submit recommendations to the EPA by March 12, 2009. The EPA plans to designate non-attainment areas by March 12, 2010.
The new non-attainment boundary designations are a result of the U.S. EPA promulgation of a revised 8-hour ozone standard (0.075 ppm) in March 2008. This standard is approximately ten percent more stringent than the previous standard (0.08 ppm) established in 1997. While most of North Carolina is meeting the older 1997 standard, the largest metropolitan regions (Triangle, Triad, and Metrolina), some of the larger cities (Hickory, Fayetteville, Greenville, and Rocky Mount), and the NC Mountain area (near/around Asheville) are currently violating the 2008 standard.