OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's Department of Environmental Quality says the state is expected to be able to meet tighter ground-level ozone limits that were unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency this week.
Department spokeswoman Skylar McElhaney said data collected from 2013 to 2015 show that all Oklahoma counties would meet the new 70 parts per billion standard.
The department has 15 monitoring sites for ozone, with most in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas. Some tribes operate additional ozone monitoring stations.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, called the new standards "yet another example of the Obama administration's enthusiasm for needless regulation."
"It will put 2,000 counties across the nation at risk of being in non-attainment, which will stall economic development and tie up much-needed federal highway dollars to improve crumbling bridges and unsafe roads," Inhofe said in a statement.
The EPA's announcement drew criticism from environmental groups and industry alike, although for opposite reasons.
Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association consultant Bud Ground argues that the new limit put Oklahoma and Tulsa counties closer to non-attainment status, leaving little wiggle room in years with hot summers.
The EPA's Science Advisory Board warned last year a 70-parts-per-billion level may not be sufficient.
"Although a level of 70 ppb is more protective of public health than the current standard, it may not meet the statutory requirement to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety," the board said in a June 2014 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.