The U.S. EPA missed its October 1, 2017 deadline to designate which areas of the country exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone under the updated 2015 standards. Environmental and public health groups sued the EPA for missing its deadline, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia gave the agency until January 12, 2018 to announce its plans to complete the process. In response, the EPA issued letters on December 22 to all 50 states informing them whether the agency agrees with state recommendations on which areas within their borders violate the 2015 standards. The letter, known as a 120 day letter, starts the clock on the deadline for the U.S. EPA to accept or alter the state recommendations for regions that exceed the pollution standards. Once this decision becomes final, states must draft plans to reduce pollution in the areas deemed to violate the ozone standards.
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