The 2008 NAAQS will remain in place and the reconsidered draft final rule will be withdrawn. But because the 2008 NAAQS were never fully implemented while EPA reconsidered the standards, EPA must complete the implementation process prior to enforcing the 0.075 ppm standard. To do so, it must issue initial area designations of attainment, nonattainment, and unclassifiable areas across the nation. States must then develop and submit state implementation plans outlining how compliance with the 2008 NAAQS will be achieved.
In a recent hearing on September 22, 2011 EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson informed the House Energy & Commerce's oversight panel that EPA plans to implement the 2008 NAAQS. That same day, EPA issued a memorandum to its Air Division Directors outlining its plan to expedite the implementation process. States already submitted their suggested designations to EPA in 2009. According to EPA, the existing 2008-2010 ozone air quality data indicate that 52 areas will exceed the 2008 NAAQS of 0.075 ppm, although the majority of those areas will be considered marginal and expected to achieve attainment within three years. EPA plans to respond to states' designations this fall, finalize initial designations in 2012, and expedite a rulemaking outlining the implementation requirements for the 2008 NAAQS in the "very near future." Meanwhile, the new ozone primary and secondary standards are expected in 2014, in response to a scientific review already underway. But the ongoing Ozone NAAQS litigation may result in a consent agreement to expedite these new NAAQS.