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EPA says Syracuse Area meets Ozone Standard

Release Date: 7/7/2005
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For Release: Thursday, July 7, 2005

(#05080) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the Syracuse area, including Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga and Oswego counties, meet EPA's air quality health standard established in 1997. In April 2004, EPA was unable to determine whether the Syracuse area met the nationwide standards and designated the area as unclassifiable. Today's proposed decision, published in the Federal Register, comes after a review of 2004 air quality data submitted to the EPA by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

"EPA's ozone standard is set to protect people's health, so the fact that the Syracuse area meets this standard is indeed encouraging," said acting Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. She added, "EPA will continue to work closely with New York to ensure that all areas of the state will meet this important health standard."

EPA originally developed an ozone standard in 1971, revised in 1979, to help counties recognize air quality problems and begin developing clean air plans. The Agency tightened this standard in 1997 after important research showed that longer exposure to lower levels of ozone also had negative health impacts. Today, nearly 100 metro areas and 490 counties across the country fail to meet the EPA's ozone standard. Many counties in New York State, including those in the New York Metropolitan area, are among this number.

Too much ozone can aggravate asthma and lead to increased cases of respiratory illness. A reduction in ozone means healthier living for citizens, particularly children and the elderly who are most vulnerable. EPA is asking for public comments regarding this decision.

The public has 30 days to voice their comments, and no final decision will be made until all comments have been reviewed and considered. Comments must be received, however, by August 8, 2005.

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