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EPA Reclassifies Lancaster for Ozone - Area Commits to Cleaner Air Sooner

Release Date: 9/16/2004
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today reclassified Lancaster, Pa. for ozone control because the community has demonstrated that it will achieve clean air standards sooner than required.

On June 15, 2004, Lancaster was designated as a moderate non-attainment area under the final designations for the EPA’s new eight-hour ozone standard.

At the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA has agreed to reclassify Lancaster from moderate to marginal non-attainment under the federal standards.

Lancaster is receiving the marginal nonattainment status after showing it will meet ozone-control goals three years earlier than required by the federal Clean Air Act – 2007 instead of 2010.

Lancaster is one of nine ozone areas in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. reclassified by EPA, as a 90-day clock expired today for such actions under the new eight-hour ozone-control categories, so-called because pollution monitoring is averaged over eight hours per day.

“This reclassification reflects the fact that Lancaster will achieve clean air sooner than required,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

Because of its geographic location in an ozone transport region, Lancaster already is required to implement control measures as if it were a moderate nonattainment area.

Communities in moderate nonattainment areas have auto emissions inspections; face stiffer pollution-reduction offsets to issue a permit to a new pollution source; and must require reasonable available control technology from existing major industries.

Although today’s reclassification gives Lancaster a more favorable status, the community is not permitted to backslide from previous ozone-control successes.