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EPA Reclassifies Kent and Queen Anne for Ozone - Area Commits to Cleaner Air Sooner

Release Date: 9/16/2004
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today reclassified Kent and Queen Anne counties, Md. for ozone control because the communities have demonstrated that they will achieve clean air standards sooner than required.

On June 15, 2004, Kent and Queen Anne counties were designated as moderate non-attainment areas under the final designations for the EPA’s new eight-hour ozone standard.

At the request of the Maryland Department of the Environment, the EPA has agreed to reclassify Kent and Queen Anne counties from moderate to marginal non-attainment under the federal standards.

The counties are receiving the marginal nonattainment status after showing they will meet ozone-control goals three years earlier than required by the federal Clean Air Act – 2007 instead of 2010.

Kent and Queen Anne counties are in one of nine ozone areas in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. reclassified by EPA, as a 90-day clock expired today for such actions under the new eight-hour ozone-control categories, so-called because pollution monitoring is averaged over eight hours per day.

“This reclassification reflects the fact that Kent and Queen Anne counties will achieve clean air sooner than required,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

Because of their geographic location in an ozone transport region, Kent and Queen Anne counties already are required to implement control measures as if they were a moderate nonattainment area.

Communities in moderate nonattainment areas face stiffer pollution-reduction offsets to issue a permit to a new pollution source and must require reasonable available control technology from existing major industries.

Although today’s reclassification gives Kent and Queen Anne counties a more favorable status, the communities are not permitted to backslide from previous ozone-control successes.