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Release Date: 8/31/1999
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1589

     Clark County carbon monoxide clean-up plan overdue
      SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made a formal finding that Clark County has missed a deadline to submit a plan showing how it will meet national air quality standards for carbon monoxide in the Las Vegas Valley.
     "We want to ensure that progress is made more rapidly to protect people in the Las Vegas Valley from carbon monoxide pollution," said Felicia Marcus, the EPA's western regional administrator.  "The public needs protection everyday so the County needs to get a plan in and implement it."

      The EPA made a "findings of non-submittal" against Clark County under the Clean Air Act. This starts a clock for mandatory application of sanctions if the county does not submit a plan that the EPA can approve. If a plan is not approved after 18 months, offsets for emissions from new industrial sources would increase.  After 24 months, the county's share of federal highway funds would be frozen. The sanctions would not be imposed if the county submits a final plan that the agency can approve. The EPA is currently reviewing a draft of the county's carbon monoxide attainment plan that is out for public review and comment.

     Under the Clean Air Act, Clark County is required to submit a plan showing how it will reach attainment for carbon monoxide. The deadline for the plan was May 3. The Las Vegas Valley is designated by the EPA as serious nonattainment for carbon monoxide.

     Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous byproduct of combustion. In urban areas, motor vehicles can cause more than 90 percent of the carbon monoxide pollution.  Carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream, making the heart work harder.  It is especially detrimental for people with heart or respiratory diseases.  It also affects concentration and learning ability.  More than 3,000 children 14 years of age and under are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the United States.  

     For more information about the EPA's action, visit the Air Programs
section of the EPA Region 9 web site at: