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EPA Agrees with Governor's New Air Quality Designation for Louisiana

Release Date: 12/4/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its agreement with Gov. Mike Foster's recommendation to designate the entire state of Louisiana, except for the five-parish Baton Rouge area, as in attainment with the new, more stringent 8-hour air quality standard for ground-level ozone.  

      The state's recommendation was the first step in working with EPA to designate areas which have not attained the clean air standards and those areas which have achieved the clean air goal.  EPA is scheduled to issue final designation decisions by April 15, 2004.

      EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said, "I am pleased the newest scientific data shows that the New Orleans area is attaining the new 8-hour ozone standard for ozone.  Clearly New Orleans and Shreveport/Bossier City are successful examples of our belief that neighborhood solutions are the best way to achieve our nation's clean air goals. Baton Rouge, while recommended as a nonattainment area, continues to take important steps towards achieving our nation's clean air goals, and we look forward to working with the area as it makes additional progress."

      The process of designating attainment areas plays an important role in letting the public know whether air quality in a given area is healthy.  The new, more stringent standard is based on 8-hour averages of ozone levels, which reflects a more realistic measure of people's exposure and is more protective of public health than the 1-hour standard.

      EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said, "Our goal is clean, safe air for every American to breathe.  We are developing a suite of clean air controls that will help the states and tribes meet these important new health standards."

      More information about ground-level ozone is available on the Internet at More information about the proposal, including a copy of EPA's letter to the governor, is available at