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EPA redesignates Phoenix area as attaining carbon monoxide standard

Release Date: 1/5/2005
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

Area reports seven years of clean data

SAN FRANCISCO -- During a speech today at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce 2005 Environmental Preview Conference, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri announced that the Phoenix metropolitan area has met the federal health standard for carbon monoxide.

The Phoenix area has not violated the federal carbon monoxide standard in the last seven years, despite its growth into one of the country's major metropolitan areas. The EPA also approved the state's plan that shows how the region will continue to maintain healthy levels of carbon monoxide in the area.

The agency also approved a boundary change to exclude the Gila River Indian Community from the Phoenix carbon monoxide. maintenance area.
"Meeting the carbon monoxide standards will translate into fewer hospital visits and overall improved public respiratory health for Phoenix residents," Nastri said. "We will continue working with stakeholders to address additional regional air pollutants, such as coarse particulate matter and ozone, for all Phoenix residents."

"This redesignation is a testament to the strong partnerships in this region for addressing complex regional issues," said Maricopa Association of Governments Chair Keno Hawker. "This achievement required the Governor's Office, Legislature, Maricopa County, and the cities and towns to work cooperatively together for the common good." he said.

"This is a clear sign that the efforts we are making to improve air quality in the Phoenix area are working," ADEQ Director Owens said. "The usage of cleaner burning gasoline, a highly effective vehicle emissions program and other efforts are leading to cleaner air in the Valley."

Cars and other gasoline-powered motor vehicles cause more than 75 percent of the Valley's carbon monoxide, which is a clear, odorless and poisonous gas. It enters the bloodstream and reduces the delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. Carbon monoxide can have serious health effects on children, the elderly, and people with respiratory ailments.

State and local agencies run a number of innovative programs that have reduced CO pollution, including a nationally recognized vehicle emissions inspection program, a cleaner burning gasoline program, pollution reduction measures for commercial and industrial sources, and woodburning restrictions.

After the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, the Phoenix area did not meet the moderate carbon monoxide standard by the Dec. 31, 1995 deadline. In 1996, the EPA reclassified the area to serious.

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