EPA Relaxes Ozone Regulations for Southeastern Wisconsin

In its final designations under the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has narrowed the areas of Wisconsin designated as “nonattainment,” or not meeting the national primary or secondary ambient air quality standards.

EPA’s original designations in late 2017 included large portions of eastern Wisconsin, despite Wisconsin’s recommendation that the entire state be designated as attainment. However, the final designations released this week ultimately determined small parts of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Door, and Kenosha counties along Lake Michigan as nonattainment and determined the rest of the state as meeting the 2015 air quality standards.

Had EPA’s original nonattainment designations been finalized, businesses in southeastern Wisconsin would have been especially impacted.  Nonattainment designations lead to increased costs to industry, potential permitting delays, and restrictions on expansion due to stricter air quality regulations. Nonattainment designation also increases transportation costs due to special fuel requirements. The final attainment/nonattainment designations will relieve many businesses in southeastern Wisconsin from the regulatory burdens associated with areas designated as nonattainment zones.