The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is holding seven public hearings statewide during January and February on the proposed eight-hour state implementation plans narratives and related rules.

Midlothian hearing Thursday

Locally, the TCEQ will hold a hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Midlothian Conference Center.

Other hearings within the Metroplex area include 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Dallas Public Library and 2 p.m. Feb. 1 at Arlington City Hall. Hearings have already been held in Houston, with a final hearing set for 2 p.m. Feb. 8 at the TCEQ offices in Austin.

The proposed rules include new and revised emissions limits and controls to improve air quality, specifically ground-level ozone, in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston/Galveston/Brazoria areas.

TCEQ staff will be available to answer questions from the public a half-hour prior to the hearing. Formal comments will be taken at the hearing during which time no responses will be given.

Written comments will be accepted at the hearings, and will also be accepted by mail, fax and e-comment through Feb. 12.

Information on participating in rulemaking can be found at http://www.teeq.state.tx.us/nav/rules.participate.html.

In the Dallas/Fort Worth area the new proposals, combined with exciting controls are predicted to bring the area into attainment of the new 8-hour federal ozone standard by the 2010 deadline. Existing rules include controls on sources like cement kilns and electric generating units, a stringent vehicle inspection program and clean fuels. The new proposed rules will require further emissions reductions from cement kilns and electric generating units, controls on compressor engines in 39 East Texas counties, and major and minor sources in the DFW area.

According to the TCEQ, “the Houston/Galveston.Brazoria area, tremendous progress has taken place in emissions reductions to date. In 2000, the area population exposed to what would have been 8-hour ozone exceedences was estimated at 4.6 million.

“By 2009, that number is predicted to fall to 1.7 million, a reduction of 63 percent,” according to a TCEQ press release. “Existing controls include emissions reductions from major emissions sources, a stringent vehicle inspection program, requirements for stationary diesel engines, and other measures. The proposed rules include new controls on emissions from storage tanks and new requirements for marine fuel.”