Atty Gen. Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has asked a court to review a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determination that San Antonio’s air no longer meets a federal standard for ozone.

In a two-page petition filed in the U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals, attorneys in Paxton’s office requested the court review the EPA’s July 17 determination that concentrations of ozone in Bexar County’s air are above a health standard set in 2015.

Ozone is a pollutant tied to power plants, engine exhaust, industrial sites, and chemical use that affects the lungs and worsens chronic conditions like asthma. Air monitoring data showed that San Antonio’s design values for ozone were calculated at 74 parts per billion from 2015 to 2017. The EPA’s standard is 70 parts per billion.

Before the EPA’s decision, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had lobbied the agency intensively in an an attempt to avoid what opponents of the ozone decision say will hurt Bexar County’s economy.

“The ozone rule will force costly regulations on a number of Texas counties,” Paxton said in a prepared statement. “We are continually and successfully reducing ambient ozone concentrations without stifling economic or population growth, and we will continue to do so without the EPA’s overreaching regulations.”

A recent study funded by the City of San Antonio found that lowering ozone levels below 70 parts per billion could lead to 24 fewer respiratory related deaths per year.

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is the San Antonio Report's environment and energy reporter.