North Texas Air Quality has Multifaceted Defense
2017 is the first year the 10-county North Central Texas nonattainment area ozone season was extended to the last day of November. Currently, it is designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as moderate. The target for compliance is July 2018, which means the region’s classification will be based on the 2017 design value.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has several air quality programs in place to improve our region’s air quality and move into ozone attainment. Many focus on education and development, implementation and enforcement of emission-reduction strategies.
Air North Texas, the region’s clean air public awareness campaign, implements ongoing air quality education and outreach. This year, it hosted the eighth annual Clean Air Action Day on June 23, in which North Texans were asked to do at least one new thing to help improve air quality, and saw the most participation to date, with more than 1,000 North Texans making commitments to improve air quality. Air North Texas encourages businesses, governments and individuals to implement specific clean air strategies, such as carpooling, using mass transit, conserving electricity and more, when air pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels.
Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities is a locally based, public/private partnership that seeks to advance energy security, protect environmental and public health, and stimulate economic development by promoting practices and decisions to reduce petroleum consumption and improve air quality, primarily in the transportation sector.
The coalition’s main goals are to facilitate and increase purchases of alternative fuel vehicles, support alternative fuel infrastructure and promote informed consumer choice on fuel economy, including hybrid vehicles. It hosts several events each year, facilitates clean vehicle trainings provides updates on available funding. At National Drive Electric Week, Grapevine, they set a North Texas record for the most electric vehicles in one location. An estimated 155 electric vehicles attended to show their support. Next year, attendees can expect an even better event that is tentatively scheduled for September 2018.
The AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program provides financial assistance to registered vehicle owners to repair or replace vehicles that have failed the state emissions test in nine of the 10 nonattainment counties. Since 2003, the AirCheckTexas program has replaced 34,150 vehicles and repaired 33,888 vehicles. Engine Off North Texas is a regional initiative dedicated to reducing the impacts associated with the idling of vehicles. Efforts are focused on expanding the adoption of anti-idling ordinances and policies, researching new technologies and promoting idle reduction campaigns across the region.
The Electric Vehicles North Texas (EVNT) Program seeks to increase awareness of the availability and feasibility of EV in the DFW area and ensure availability of resources needed to support widespread adoption of electric (EV) through collaboration with local governments, businesses and interested parties. The region has nearly 300 locations with public recharging infrastructure.
Another defender of the environment, Go Solar Texas, expanded to include SolSmart, a national program that provides technical assistance to and recognizes solar friendly municipalities. Since May, NCTCOG has served as a SolSmart advisor to the North Texas region with the goals of improving the region’s air quality, reducing non-technical barriers to solar, and creating a more solar friendly North Central Texas region.
For more information, visit nctcog.org.