The Environmental Protection Agency establishes “goals” for counties and cities in the United States. El Paso isn’t meeting the set goal set for us so the EPA may soon categorize us as “non-compliant” or “unattained”. It’s not completely our fault, though. Most American cities aren’t RIGHT NEXT to another county that has its own set of rules and regs.

Let’s go over a few key terms.

  • “Ozone”-This is confusing. The EPA says “ozone” is synonymous with “smog”. I thought we were trying to SAVE the ozone all this time. Ozone is bad for you.
  • “Non-attainment”- This is what a city or county could be designated if they DON’T meet the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • “Mexico”- a country that El Paso is less than an inch away from that doesn’t have the same environmental protection standards as the United States.

This “non-attainment” status could mean that the El Paso Electric Company won’t be allowed to build their new gas-powered generator. It seems that a New Mexico Senator, Martin Heinrich, has raised the issue in a letter to the EPA. Heinrich’s letter says, in part, “people in Dona Ana County (N.M.)…will be exposed to increased air pollution in a region with already poor air quality”.

For their part, EP Electric says (I’m paraphrasing here) “The new generator will actually REDUCE emissions” and “It’s not even REALLY El Paso’s fault because Mexico is RIGHT THERE, guys!”

The EPA says they’re taking Heinrich’s concerns into account. Meantime, the Electric Company is hoping that El Paso can be allowed to demonstrate their compliance another way. El Paso MAY be allowed to show that we WOULD be in compliance…if it weren’t for Mexico.

That city-sized dome from The Simpsons Movie is starting to make more and more sense.

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