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Changes in Ozone Standard and Other “Hot Air” Topics Affecting Arizona’s Business Community Addressed at Annual Air Quality Conference

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by Lucas J. Narducci

The Arizona Manufacturers Council, in conjunction with Maricopa County, held its 2015 Air Quality Conference on Friday, November 6th with tremendous success having the largest attendance for this event in recent years.  Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. was the law firm sponsor and Amanda Reeve, our Environmental Policy and Regulatory Advisor, was the key coordinator and program developer, in conjunction with the county, of the Conference.  In his opening remarks at the conference, AMC Chairman Steve Macias expressed his appreciation of Amanda Reeve for her lead in developing the agenda and lining up the presenters for the Air Quality Conference; and, acknowledged that it played a part in the Board’s decision to recognize her as AMC’s 2015 Advocate of the Year at the previous week’s Manufacturers of the Year Summit.

In attendance were regulators from federal, state, county and municipal agencies; staff and elected officials from Congress, the Arizona State Legislature, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors; students from Arizona State University; members of health and environmental non-governmental organizations; and representatives of all sorts from a plethora of industries.

The conference was filled with panel discussion regarding permitting challenges and opportunities; the health, environmental, regulatory and economic impacts of the new ozone standard of 70ppb; Arizona’s implementation status of the Clean Power Plan; and the value of collaboration between regulators, community partners and regulated entities in addressing some of Arizona’s most challenging air issues.  The Environmental Protection Agency, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Maricopa County Air Quality Department each delivered respective agency and regulatory status updates.  Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.’s Mitch Klein spoke to how effective communication between regulators and industries is key in achieving goals amicably.  And, the conference wrapped up with the county providing a compliance and enforcement status report followed by a Question and Answer session in which the audience was able to ask its questions of the county’s air department officials.

As all of the regulations, rules and laws in this area continue to evolve, the Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. Natural Resources team stays abreast of potential impacts.  Further, we are involved not only in this annual Conference but also in the Environmental and Sustainability Summit in Prescott, Arizona every year in August in concert with the Arizona Manufacturers Council and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  There we will update all the issues we dealt with at this conference and additionally address other areas of energy, water, air, soil, safety and legal and regulatory compliance for business and industry on the state, county and federal levels.  That summit is generally in the beginning of August and will be conducted over a 2 full day schedule.

We are happy to discuss any aspects of the air issues presented in last week’s conference or any other environmental and natural resource matters.  Should you have an idea we should consider for discussion or presentation for the upcoming Summit in Prescott, please reach out.