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EPA Upholds Air Quality Designations
Release Date: 01/24/2006
Contact Information: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 / email@example.com
(Washington, D.C.-1/26/06) EPA denied petitions from five state and local governments and one private business requesting the agency to reconsider its decision on findings of "nonattainment" for EPA's health-based national air quality standards for fine particle pollution. The nonattainment designation applied to counties or parts of counties when monitors detected air quality that violates the fine particle, or PM2.5 standards.
The petitions include:
1. State of West Virginia – pertaining to the inclusion of part of Mason county in the Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio nonattainment area and to the inclusion of part of Pleasants county in the Parkersburg-Marietta, W.Va.-Ohio area.
2. State of Georgia – pertaining to the inclusion of Walker and Catoosa counties in the Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga. nonattainment area.
3. State of Michigan – pertaining to including only Wayne county in the Detroit-Ann Arbor, Mich. nonattainment area.
4. Oakland County, Michigan – pertaining to the inclusion of Oakland county in the Detroit-Ann Arbor nonattainment area.
5. State of Ohio – pertaining to the inclusion of Scioto, Adams, Gallia, and Lawrence counties in the Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio area.
6. Dynegy Midwest Generation – pertaining to the inclusion of the part of Randolph county Illinois in the St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. nonattainment area.
Areas designated as nonattainment can still receive federal highway funds. To attain the air quality standards, nonattainment areas must reduce emissions that produce fine particles and the pollutants that form them.
In December 2005, EPA denied petitions for reconsideration from seven other state and local government petitioners requesting that the agency reconsider its decision to designate one or more full or partial county within their jurisdiction as nonattainment. EPA sent an eighth letter to a government/business coalition denying their request to stay the effective date (April 5, 2005) of the designations. Areas designated as nonattainment can still receive federal highway funds. To attain the air quality standards, nonattainment areas must reduce emissions that produce fine particles and the pollutants that form them.
In December 2004, EPA designated attainment and nonattainment areas for fine particle pollution as an important step toward making the nation's air healthier to breathe. The agency designated counties as "nonattainment" when monitors in that county detected air quality that violates the fine particle, or PM2.5 standards. EPA also included in a nonattainment area, nearby counties contributing to fine particle pollution problems based on a review of nine key factors (including air quality, emissions, population, commuting, and weather conditions).
The Bush Administration has developed a comprehensive clean air strategy to help states and localities meet the fine particle standards. This strategy includes Clear Skies legislation, the Clean Air Interstate Rule and recent rules to reduce pollution from non-road diesel engines. Together these rules will help all areas of the country achieve cleaner air.
More information on this action: epa.gov/pmdesignations/regs.htm