By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dec. 30 agreed to a 42 percent reduction of federal Clean Air Act roadside monitoring equipment for nitrogen dioxide (NOx).

Under the new regulation, EPA will reduce the number of roadside NOx monitors to 73 from the originally planned 126. ARTBA has long held concerns that improper monitoring locations can lead to skewed results and put county governments out of compliance with federal air standards. This is especially important for transportation construction as counties not meeting CAA standards can have their federal highway funds withheld. Having fewer monitors will help alleviate this problem.

On June 30, 2016, ARTBA submitted comments to EPA noting EPA’s own data has shown dramatic reduction in roadside NOx levels since 1980. Given this success, ARTBA specifically suggested to EPA that “[i]f the air quality is improving, further regulation may not be necessary and, perhaps, thought should be given to altering existing requirements in a manner which would reduce regulatory burdens without sacrificing the success which has already been achieved.”