North Texas Clean Air Efforts
Dec 05, 2014 01:25AM
October 31 marked the end of the 2014 ozone season for the 10-county North Central Texas nonattainment area (NCT), which is designated as moderate nonattainment for the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard (less than or equal to 75 parts per billion (ppb), by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For the first time since 2004, when the EPA designated the NCT region as nonattainment for the 1997 standard (85 parts per billion), the region’s design value fell below the standard at 81 ppb. The 2014 ozone season recorded only 12 violation days, down from more than 30 days for the past three ozone seasons. Under this current moderate nonattainment designation, the NCT must reach attainment by December 31, 2018.
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 attainment (compliance) for ozone. Many focus on education and development, implementation and enforcement of emissions reduction strategies across the NCT.
Air North Texas
Air North Texas, the region’s clean air public awareness campaign, implements air quality education and outreach efforts each year. This year, Air North Texas hosted the fifth annual Clean Air Action Day on June 27, in which North Texans were asked to do at least one new thing to help improve air quality. Individual participation in the event was the highest to date, with a 33 percent increase over 2013 participation.
Additionally, Air North Texas encourages businesses, governments and individuals to implement specific clean air strategies when air pollution is forecasted to reach unhealthy levels. The Air North Texas campaign offers examples of easy things you can do to help improve air quality, such as carpooling, using mass transit, conserving electricity and more.
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. In 2013, DFW Clean Cities was able to reduce more than 17 million of gallons of petroleum. Those efforts came from the more than 150 stakeholders that actively participate in DFW Clean Cities efforts. The Coalition’s main goals are to facilitate and increase purchases of alternative fuel vehicles, support alternative fuel infrastructure and promote informed consumer choices in fuel economy, including hybrid vehicles. The DFW Clean Cities Coalition also hosts several events each year, facilitates clean vehicle trainings, provides updates on available funding and has official meetings once a quarter.
AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program
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. The program is offered to residents in nine of the 10 nonattainment counties. Since 2003, the program has replaced 30,585 vehicles and repaired 30,271 vehicles.
Locally Enforced Idling Restrictions
Enforced Idling Restrictions is a control measure aimed at reducing emissions caused by idling of heavy-duty gasoline and diesel vehicles. To support the state in implementing this control strategy, NCTCOG promotes this initiative by developing outreach materials and assisting local governments with adoption, education, and enforcement. To date, 30 local governments have adopted the restrictions; citizens may also report idling vehicles online at EngineOffNorthTexas.org.
Electrified Parking Spaces
The expansion of idle reduction infrastructure for heavy-duty trucks is an ongoing NCTCOG initiative focused on reducing idling. These sites help reduce air pollution and save fuel by giving truck drivers access to auxiliary power without idling the main engine of the vehicle. NCTCOG has provided funding for the installation of 96 electrified parking spaces at truck stops, for a total of 144 publicly available spaces at three truck stops in Dallas and Tarrant counties. Efforts are also underway to expand use of this technology at trucking terminals in the region.
Electric Vehicles North Texas
The Electric Vehicles North Texas (EVNT) program seeks to increase awareness of the availability and feasibility of electric vehicles (EV) in the DFW area and ensure availability of resources needed to support widespread adoption of EV through a partnership of local governments, business and other interested parties. The region has more than 250 different locations with recharging infrastructure, with the city of Dallas ranking second in the nation for the number of charging stations per capita, according to the EV recharging smartphone app PlugShare. Nearly 2,000 EVs are registered in NCTCOG counties as of November 2014, nearly double what was registered during the same month of 2013. As the number of EVs in the region increases, EVNT looks for ways to overcome barriers to the adoption and use of this clean vehicle technology.
For information, visit nctcog.org/trans/air/programs.