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Environment

San Patricio County Economic Development Corporation approaches economic growth with consideration of the environment despite contrary beliefs that economic development and environmental protection are often viewed as opposing ideas. We recognize that partnership, communication, and business engagement will help build understanding, and result in growth that will not come at the expense of the environment.

There are numerous industries in our County that have established relationships with the local environmental organizations, and together they address issues and find ways to protect natural resources as economic growth occurs.

As we develop our steel, oil, and natural gas industries, we are aware we must make a concerted effort to maintain our clean air attainment status, protect and conserve our water resources, maintain safe soil conditions, and protect the wildlife and beaches that attract tourists from throughout the world.

We encourage industries and businesses to manage their impact on the environment by engaging environmental partners early in the development process and participating in local activities with our area’s environmental partners. Together will ensure we grow in the best interests of our overall community.

Coastal Bays and Estuaries
 222 Power St, Corpus Christi, TX 78401
 361-885-6202
cbbep.org

Nature Conservancy
 539 N Carancahua St, Corpus Christi TX 78401
 361-882-3584
www.nature.org

Coastal Bend Bays Foundation
 1231 Agnes St. Corpus Christi TX 78401
 361-882-3439
www.baysfoundation.org

Coastal Bend Sierra Club
texas.sierraclub.org/coastalbend/

Clean Air

The United States EPA has announced their proposed NAAQS for ozone; in the range of 65-70 ppb. They will also taking comments on NAAQS set as low as 60 ppb.

o By June 1, 2017: EPA responds to states’ initial recommendations and identifies where the agency intends to modify the recommendations. States will have the opportunity to comment on EPA’s response, and to provide new information and analyses for EPA to consider.

o By October 1, 2017: EPA issues final area designations; those designations likely would be based on 2014-2016 air quality data.

o 2020 to 2021: States complete development of implementation plans, outlining how they will reduce pollution to meet the standards. State and tribal plans can include federal measures, and any local or statewide measures needed to demonstrate that a nonattainment area will meet the standards by its attainment date.

o 2020 to 2037: States are required to meet the primary (health) standard, with deadlines depending on the severity of an area’s ozone problem.

Our current ozone averages are 67 ppb at CAMS 4 and 66 ppb at CAMS 21. At our January meeting we will discuss the proposed NAAQS for ozone and plans to participate in the public comment period.

What are the ambient air quality standards?
 The U S EPA sets air pollutant standards known as NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) for criteria pollutants and regulates compliance of those standards by airshed. San Patricio County lies within the Corpus Christi Urban Airshed.

The U S EPA regulates six (6) criteria pollutants: particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and lead. These pollutants can harm your health and the environment, and cause property damage. Of the six pollutants, particulate matter and ground-level ozone are the most widespread health threat pollutants.

What do the terms attainment and nonattainment mean?
 If the concentration of one or more criteria pollutants in a geographic area is found to exceed the regulated or ‘threshold’ level for one or more of the NAAQS, the area may be classified as a non-attainment area. Areas with concentrations of criteria pollutants that are below the levels established by the NAAQS are considered either attainment or unclassifiable areas.

How do we know if an area is in attainment or not?
 TCEQ has several ambient air monitors located throughout the region to measure the concentrations of pollutants in the ambient air. See map below:

A summary of ambient monitoring data is published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and can be found at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/toxicology/regmemo/AirMain.html/

San Patricio County and the Corpus Christi region are currently in attainment for all criteria pollutants. Ozone is the only criteria pollutant for which our Airshed is considered to be at risk, and is being addressed continuously by the Corpus Christi Air Quality Group. This volunteer committee is made up of industry and environmental professionals that seek to identify sources of ozone precursors and develop emission reduction programs. The Corpus Christi Air Quality Group has been successfully working to keep the Corpus Christi Urban Airshed within attainment levels of ozone since 1995.

In order for an area to remain in attainment for ozone, an area’s rolling 3-year average must not exceed 75 parts per billion. This is determined by recording the 4th highest ozone level recorded at a regulatory monitoring site during the period of a year. This 4th high ozone number will be the representative ozone number for that monitor for that year.

Monitor
4rth High in 2011
4rth High in 2012
4rth High in 2013
3 Year Average
CAMS 4
902 Airport Blvd.
75
69
66
70
Cams 21
Tuloso
9860 La Branch
78
65
66
70

The table below depicts Corpus Christi’s ozone average data for the 2013 ozone season.

The Corpus Christi Urban Airshed, through the Corpus Christi Air Quality Group is a participant in the U S EPA Ozone Advance Program and has submitted a Path Forward letter that describes the airshed’s efforts and commitments to reduce ozone emissions. The Corpus Christi Urban Airshed Ozone Advance Path Forward letter can be found at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-01/documents/flex-corpuschristi.pdf

In order for Corpus Christi to continue in attainment at a level of less than 75 ppb for 2014, CAMS 4 must experience a 4th high ozone level of 90 ppb or less, and CAMS 21 must experience a 4th high ozone level of 94 ppb or less for the year 2014.

In order for Corpus Christi to continue in attainment at a level of less than 70 ppb for 2014, CAMS 4 must experience a 4th high ozone level of 74 ppb or less, and CAMS 21 must experience a 4rth high ozone level of 77 ppb or less for the year 2014.

The 4th highest ozone level for both CAMS 4 and 21 as of July 17, 2014 is 58 ppb.

How is economic development impacted by designation of non-attainment area?
 Economic development would not be impacted directly by a non-attainment designation, but there could be indirect, costly consequences due to the designation. Industrial facilities could be required to install pollution control equipment, take limits on their production, or otherwise find reductions in emissions by “offsetting” in order to expand. New facilities wanting to locate in a non-attainment area will most likely be required to install pollution controls or take stringent operational limits.

What is the San Patricio EDC doing to help ensure the CC Urban Airshed remains in attainment?
 Our industry partners take our attainment status seriously and the SPCEDC is facilitating meetings with industry to find and implement ways that will help our county stay in compliance. Many organizations implement voluntary measures to reduce emissions to stay in compliance. One such measure is TPCO America’s new company transit program. As mobile vehicle emissions contribute to the formation of ozone and PM2.5 our area industries are considering ideas such as mass transit, vanpools, carpooling, alternate shift times, encouraging cycling, reducing truck idling, and encouraging renewable fuels to reduce the impact of growth on our air quality.

We encourage industries and businesses to manage their impact on the environment by participating in Corpus Christi Air Quality Group meetings and programs.

For more information contact Gretchen Arnold, Corpus Christi Air Quality Group Chair, at gretchen.arnold@stx.rr.com.