On April 4, 2012, EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards announced their new voluntary Ozone Advance Program. It continues and expands EPA’s cooperative work with state, tribal, and local governments. The Program is patterned after earlier ozone mitigation programs such as Ozone Flex and Early Action Compacts, although divorced from ozone attainment regulatory requirements altogether. The overarching objective of the Ozone Advance Program is to encourage emission reductions in ozone attainment areas to help them to continue to meet the NAAQS. Program goals designed to help achieve the objective are:
- Help attainment areas to ensure continued attainment of the ozone standard and health protection;
- Better position areas to remain in attainment; and
- Efficiently direct available resources toward actions to address ozone problems quickly.
It is believed that participating in the program would facilitate the area’s efforts to achieve and maintain the ozone standard as well as provide for possible mitigation of consequences of failure to attain the standard.