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Austin, TX 78744

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Regional Air Quality Plan

CAPCOG's Air Quality Program worked with the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition (CAC) and other stakeholders to develop and implement the 2019-2023 Regional Air Quality Plan designed to help keep Central Texas’ air clean. The regional plan serves as a guide to maintain and improve outdoor air quality; reduce the impact of emissions; and mitigate health, environmental, economic and social impacts of regional air pollution. 

> Read the complete 2019-23 Regional Air Quality Plan.

Objectives & Measures

The plan’s two key objectives are:

  1. Maximizing the probability of compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) region-wide; and 
  2. Otherwise minimizing health and environmental impacts of regional air pollution.
    > Learn how air pollution affects your health.

In order to achieve these objectives, the plan calls for: 

  1. Implementation of controls on the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  2. Outreach, education, and technical support to enhance NOx emission reductions;
  3. Outreach and education to reduce public exposure to ambient ground-level ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) when high enough to be considered “moderate” or worse based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Air Quality Index (AQI)
  4. Ambient air monitoring
  5. Other air quality research and planning activities
  6. Policy advocacy

As part of the plan, 39 entities, including CAC members and other participating organizations, made tiered commitments to implement measures to protect air quality.

Tier 1 measures include:

Measures to reduce air pollution from the use of personal vehicles

  • Where feasible, encourage employees to telecommute at least once a week and on all O3 Action Days
  • When employees are not telecommuting, encourage them to take low-emission modes of transportation, such as carpooling, vanpooling, transit, biking, and walking
  • Where flexible schedules are allowed, encourage employees to consider work schedules with start times earlier than 8 am rather than later in the morning due to the higher impact of emissions on O3 levels later in the morning

Measures to reduce air pollution from the use of fleet/commercial vehicles and equipment:

  • Establish and enforce idling restriction policies for use of the organization’s vehicles, equipment, and property
  • Establish fleet management policies that prioritize the use of vehicles and equipment with low NOX rates
  • Educate fleet users on driving and equipment operation practices that can reduce NOX emissions
  • Seek funding to accelerate replacement of older, higher-emitting vehicles and equipment with newer, cleaner vehicles and equipment, such as TERP grants.

Measures to reduce air pollution from power plants and other stationary combustion sources:

  • Conserve energy, particularly on O3 Action Days; and
  • Schedule discretionary emission-generating activities such as engine testing to the afternoon, particularly on O3 Action Days. 

Tier 2 measures include all applicable Tier 1 measures and the following:

Measures to reduce air pollution from the use of personal vehicles

  • Provide incentives to employees to avoid single-occupancy vehicle commuting, particularly on O3 Action Days.

Measures to reduce air pollution from the use of fleet/commercial vehicles and equipment:

  • Establish low-NOX purchasing policies for new on-road vehicles, non-road equipment, and stationary equipment
  • Establish “green” contracting policies to encourage the use of low-NOX vehicles and equipment and avoid the use of engines during the morning on O3 Action Days
  • Purchase higher-grade gasoline with lower sulfur content in August and September
  • Enforce vehicle idling restrictions within the community [either through an ordinance if a city or a memorandum of agreement with TCEQ if a county].

Measures to reduce air pollution from power plants and other stationary combustion sources:

  • Optimize combustion and pollution controls for NOX reductions, particularly on O3 Action Days and between 9 am and 3 pm.

An additional plan participate may implement other measure reduction efforts identified in the plan.

> Read the complete 2019-2023 Regional Air Quality Plan.
> Review Participating Organization’s Commitments. (.xlsx)

Keeping track of the plan

Annually, CAPCOG gathers information from each organization and prepares a report detailing the status of these efforts. These reports are used to provide accountability, quantify the emission reductions being achieved, and demonstrate to EPA the region’s continued implementation of the plan.

> Get regional air quality reports.

Become “Be Air Aware”

The plan will be updated as new information becomes available, organizations adjust their emission reduction strategies, and new organizations sign up to participate in the effort. While the existing Action Plan is quite extensive, its impact can be amplified if more organizations can commit to participate.

> Is your organization interested in enlisting in the effort; contact the CAPCOG Air Quality Program Manager.
> Just a resident, commit to ACT (Air Central Texas).

Air Quality Workshops

CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program conducts a number of workshops to help local jurisdictions, nonprofits, and businesses meet the objectives of the Regional Air Quality Plan.

> Review information from past workshops.
> Find an upcoming workshop.

Previous Plans

The CAC adopted the 2019-23 Regional Air Quality Plan in December 2018. It was preceded by four other regional plans that sought to reduced emissions and other air pollutants to maintain a healthy breathable regional air quality for all residents. The plans included: