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U.S. EPA announces Clark County air pollution boundaries for new smog standard

Release Date: 9/10/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, 425-947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified the areas of Clark County, Nev. that must meet the new, more protective air quality standard for ozone, or smog.

     The county must develop a plan to comply with the new EPA standard within the next three years.
    The areas of Clark County that are not meeting the new ozone standard include Apex and Moapa Valleys to the northeast, and a broad area in the southern part of the county.  

     "The recommendations we received from the state and county were critical in helping us define the boundary for this new health standard," said Deborah Jordan, director of the EPA's air division for the Pacific Southwest region.  "This action will ultimately result in cleaner air for millions of people living in one of the fastest-growing areas of the nation."

    "The state greatly appreciates all of the efforts put forth by the County and the EPA to define an appropriate boundary for this new health-based standard," said Jolaine Johnson, acting administrator for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

    Last April the EPA identified hundreds of regions across the country -- including Clark County -- that failed to meet the new eight-hour ozone air quality standard that replaces a one-hour standard the agency has used since 1979.  Most of these regions were required to comply with the new standard by June 15, 2004.

    "The EPA notified us this spring that Clark County would be included on its list of hundreds of communities nationwide that do not meet the new eight-hour standard for ozone," said Christine Robinson, director of Clark County's Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management.  "The good news is we're barely out of attainment with the new ozone standard.  I have no doubt our community can rise to this challenge as we have with other air pollution issues in Southern Nevada."

     Measures that the county may be required to take to control ozone pollution may include stricter controls on emissions from industrial facilities, additional planning requirements for transportation sources and vehicle emissions inspection programs.
    Clark County complied with the EPA's previous 1-hour standard ozone.  The new 8-hour standard is a more accurate measure of how much air pollution people are exposed to throughout the day.   The new standard will protect people from exposure to lower concentrations of ozone over the course of the day.

    At ground level, ozone is created by a chemical reaction involving sunlight, high temperatures and pollutants such as car exhaust, oil and gas vapors, and paint and hairspray fumes.  Ozone pollution aggravates respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.  Healthy people who are active outdoors on high ozone days may experience coughing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes.

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