EPA Releases Innovative Mapping ToolThe EPA has released a public version of NEPAssist, which is a web-based mapping tool developed for Federal agencies to facilitate more efficient and effective environmental reviews and project planning.
Air Quality Planning
The 5-county Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties, has the potential to be designated nonattainment of the federal 8-hour ozone air quality standard by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to unhealthy air quality levels during the summer months. A nonattainment designation means that the area does not meet the health-based air quality standard and will be required to implement emission reduction strategies to clean up the air. Failure to clean up the region's air as required can result in restrictions on economic growth and a partial loss of federal highway funding.
Both the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) endorse the concept of early action plans to improve air quality. These plans allow local selection of emission reduction strategies, resulting in clean air sooner than otherwise required as an alternative to the standard nonattainment process.Instead of waiting for a nonattainment designation, the MSA has proactively developed and is in the process of implementing early action plans to clean up the air now.
The MSA has developed and implemented three voluntary air quality programs. The current program, the 8-Hour Ozone Flex Program, is designed to keep the region in compliance with the 2007 8-hour ozone standard.