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EPA Accepts Pledge from Arkansas and Tennessee for Clean Air Faster

Release Date: 9/13/2004
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Leavitt announced today he will approve the ozone nonattainment area reclassification petition submitted by Crittenden County, Arkansas, and Shelby County, Tennessee.

      "Because the Memphis area has shown it will achieve clean air standards 3 years earlier than required, I intend to approve their request and classify the area as a marginal nonattainment area under the new, more protective national air quality standard for ground-level ozone," EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said. "This action recognizes the hard work of local and state leaders over the past 4 months and their renewed pledge to employ innovative local emissions control program to ensure our clean air milestones are met."

       State and local leaders from Arkansas and Tennessee joined Leavitt in recognizing collaborative efforts to bring clean air to Crittenden and Shelby counties. For example, the area is committed to local regulations that will control emissions from heavy duty diesel trucks and industrial NOx emissions in Shelby county, and a monitor study and control measures evaluation is planned in Marion.

       Earlier this summer, the Arkansas and Tennessee petitioned EPA to designate the Memphis area as Marginal under the Clean Air Act.  Marginal nonattainment areas must implement pollution control measures to achieve clean air sooner than Moderate areas. Moderate areas must attain national 8-hour ozone air quality standards no later than June 2010.  Marginal areas must attain by June 2007.

       Leavitt also announced he is adding federal dollars to Arkansas's efforts through the new national voluntary program, SmartWaySM Transport Partnership. Leavitt launched the program by announcing that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will receive a $100,000 grant to reduce truck idling.  The key SmartWay strategy is to reduce long duration truck engine idling and to establish national transportation idle-free corridors.  On a national scale, extended truck idling contributes 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, and 5,000 tons of particulate matter each year.

       More information on ozone designations is available at More information about EPA's SmartWay Transportation Partnership is available at