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Wednesday, January 10, 2007
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Our Opinion: Improved ozone level good news in the Valley


There’s good news to report in terms of the amount of smog found in the region.

It was announced this week that the United States Environmental Protection Agency has asked that Washington County be redesignated as attaining federal guidelines for the eight-hour outdoor quality standard for ozone, otherwise known as smog.

Prior to 2003, the county exceeded the national ozone level standard but since then, that level has dropped. EPA officials say that’s the result of lower nitrogen oxide emissions and also fewer emissions from vehicles.

One local expert says this is all good news as long as the EPA is basing its assessment on accurate information. His concern is over where the measurements are being taken and whether they have a true picture of ozone levels at this time.

That point is a valid one. We would expect the federal EPA to check its information and utilize the best and most up to date information. And we would hope this redesignation process would raise red flags if the information appeared suspect. We — this community — must watch the process and its outcome closely.

The process allows for public question and comment. Once the appeal for the redesignation is formerly filed, the public will have 30 days to comment or make inquiries. We hope area residents concerned about the air in the Valley will take part in that process. A press release issued by the EPA suggests people enter their comments at www.regulation.gov and refer to docket ID number EPA-RO5-OAR-2006-0892. Or, send e-mails to mooney.john@epa.gov or fax them to (312) 353-3214.

We should all care what the level of ozone is that we have in our community. Levels that exceed the national standard can cause health problems. Seeing that the ozone level is reduced is just one step in the overall improvement of the air quality here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. We urge the EPA and the companies it regulates to continue their work toward making the air we breathe cleaner.

 

 

 








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