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U.S. EPA PROPOSES TO APPROVE ARIZONA'S PLAN TO REDUCE PARTICULATE POLLUTANT IN PHOENIX
Release Date: 4/3/2000
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA, (415)744-1587
SAN FRANCISCO--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes to approve Arizona's plan to control particulate air pollution in the Phoenix area. The approval comes after EPA reviewed a revised plan submitted by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) in January.
"This plan takes a much more balanced approach to improving air quality by improving compliance with existing fugitive dust controls and paving heavily traveled unpaved roads," said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's regional administrator. "We appreciate the state's effort to develop a plan that will result in cleaner air and a greater protection of public health.
Although sanctions were imposed in Phoenix last month, EPA plans to stay the sanctions until final approval of the plan. The sanctions affected major sources of particulate pollution such as utilities who might want to build new facilities or expand old ones.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set national health standards for pollutants that threaten public health and the environment. When an area violates a health-based standard, the Clean Air Act requires that the area be designated as non-attainment for that pollutant. Arizona was required to develop a plan to reduce particulate matter in the Phoenix area to healthy levels or face sanctions.
The primary cause of particulate matter problem in the Phoenix area is dust on paved roads from vehicle traffic, and windblown dust from construction sites, earth moving operations, unpaved parking lots and roads, disturbed vacant lots, agricultural fields and aprons, and other disturbed areas. Particulate matter affects the respiratory system and can cause damage to lung tissue and premature death. The elderly, children, and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, and asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.