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Chattanooga, TN Now Meets Smog Standards

Release Date: 05/31/2011
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421,

(ATLANTA – May 31, 2011) – Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a final determination that the Chattanooga area meets the 1997 federal fine particulate matter standard. The Chattanooga area includes Hamilton County, Tennessee, in its entirety; Catoosa and Walker Counties in Georgia, in their entireties; and a portion of Jackson County in Alabama.

"We commend local and state officials, as well as the residents of the Chattanooga area, who have been working collaboratively with us to reach this milestone," said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. “This accomplishment signifies that the citizens of Chattanooga are breathing cleaner air and leading healthier lives.

"The private and corporate citizens of Hamilton County again have shown that they can meet any challenge," said Bob Colby, Director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau. "We are pleased to be a small part of their success in improving air quality for the benefit of all,"

“I look forward to our continuing to work together on a regional and local basis to keep the air clean.” James A. Capp, Chief of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) Air Protection Branch, noted that "This determination is confirmation that the clean air programs we have in place in Georgia are working. This success is the result of the effective partnerships that Georgia EPD has with the public, regulated community, nonprofit organizations and other governmental organizations."

EPA's decision to finalize the determination that the Chattanooga area is attaining the standard is based on the most recent air quality monitoring data for fine particulate matter. The Chattanooga area has made significant progress in improving air quality and has reached an important clean air milestone. Air in the Chattanooga area is meeting the health based standard set in 1997, and all three states are currently developing plans to put measures in place to ensure the area continues to meet this standard. This progress is a result of hard work and great cooperation among local, state and federal agencies, private partners and the approximately 520,000 citizens who live and work in the Chattanooga area.

Particulate matter pollution – especially fine particles – contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems. Particles can cause premature death and a wide range of lung and heart disease, including heart attacks and asthma.

For more information on the Chattanooga area fine particulate matter attainment determination, visit docket number EPA-R04-OAR-2011-0084 at