The air quality state implementation plan is an enforceable plan developed at the state level that explains how the state will comply with air quality standards according to the Federal Clean Air Act.
The Federal Clean Air Act is the legal foundation for the national air pollution control program. The Federal Clean Air Act requires each state to produce and regularly update a state implementation plan. The Federal Clean Air Act also requires that state implementation plans include a description of control strategies, or measures to deal with pollution, for areas that fail to achieve national ambient air quality standards. Finally, this Act grants powers of enforcement to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
National ambient air quality standards are established by the EPA as directed by the Federal Clean Air Act. The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria region is in non-attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard and for the 2015 8-hour ozone standard. View Texas state implementation plan revisions for our region.
The state implementation plans are developed to protect human health. Ground-level ozone is harmful because it can trigger a variety of health problems:
- Make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously.
- Cause shortness of breath, and pain when taking a deep breath.
- Cause coughing and sore or scratchy throat.
- Inflame and damage the airways.
- Aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
- Increase the frequency of asthma attacks.
- Make the lungs more susceptible to infection.
- Continue to damage the lungs even when the symptoms have disappeared.
- Cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
These health problems can be more serious for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.