North Texas Clean Air Efforts Show Progress
The 10-county North Central Texas (NCT) nonattainment area, designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as moderate nonattainment for the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard (less than or equal to 75 ppb (parts per billion), saw the 2016 ozone season conclude at the end of October by recording the fewest number of exceeding days and the lowest design value since it was designated nonattainment for ozone in 1991.
For the third year in a row, the region’s design value fell below the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard of 85 ppb at 80 ppb, with 18 exceeding days. Under this current moderate nonattainment designation, the region must reach attainment by July 2018.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCG) has several air quality programs in place to improve our region’s air quality and move into attainment for the pollutant ozone. 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 seventh annual Clean Air Action Day, in which North Texans were asked to do at least one new thing to help improve air quality. With a 57 percent increase from last year, the most commitments to date were recorded.
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 2015, DFW Clean Cities was able to reduce more than 23 million gallons of petroleum. Those efforts came from the over 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 choice on fuel economy, including hybrid vehicles.
The DFW Clean Cities Coalition also hosts events, facilitates clean vehicle trainings, provides updates on available funding and has official meetings once a quarter. In 2016, National Drive Electric Week was held at Grapevine Mills Mall and set a North Texas record for the most electric vehicles in one location.
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 AirCheckTexas program has replaced 32,419 vehicles and repaired 32,489 vehicles.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a state regulation that limits idling of heavy-duty gasoline and diesel vehicles to five minutes. To improve effectiveness of this regulation, NCTCOG promotes adoption of local ordinances that provide enforcement authority to local governments and provides outreach materials and technical assistance to cities and counties who put these rules in place. To date, 26 local governments have adopted the restrictions; citizens are encouraged to report idling vehicles online at EngineOffNorthTexas.org.
The Electric Vehicles North Texas (EVNT) program increases awareness of the availability and feasibility of EVs in the DFW area, and also ensure availability of resources needed to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV). The region has nearly 300 locations with public recharging infrastructure. Nearly 3,300 EVs are registered in NCTCOG counties as of November 2016, accounting for 39 percent of all EVs in the state; see dfwcleancities.org/evnt.
The GoSolarTexas.org website brings together Texas-specific information and resources regarding solar photovoltaic (PV) energy.
For more information, visit nctcog.org/trans/air/programs.