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EPA Modifies Effective Date of Air Quality Designation for Chattanooga

Release Date: 06/15/2004
Contact Information: Carl Terry, (404) 562-8327,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has granted a deferral of the effective date of non-attainment designation for the 8-hour ozone standard for Hamilton and Meigs Counties in Tennessee and Catoosa County in Georgia. This action is the result of additional measures being taken by Chattanooga to improve air quality in the area.

The Chattanooga area is one of thirty-three communities that have signed innovative agreements, also known as Early Action Compacts (EACs), with EPA to reduce ground-level ozone pollution sooner than required by the Clean Air Act. Hamilton, Meigs and Catoosa Counties were designated non-attainment for the 8-hour standard on April 15, 2004, because Chattanooga's modeled demonstration of attainment was not acceptable. Consequently, the area did not qualify for a deferred effective date of non-attainment designation to September 30, 2005.

Chattanooga requested EPA reconsider its decision and submitted a revised early action plan that includes additional local emissions reduction measures and a revised technical analysis showing attainment in 2007. The emissions reduction measures include a vehicle inspections and maintenance (I/M) program and a ban on open burning during the ozone season (May 1st to September 30th). The vehicle I/M program will be implemented throughout Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga. The Tennessee legislature authorized the city's implementation of the I/M program in May 2004, and the Governor is expected to sign it into law soon.