There’s good news to report in terms of the amount of smog found in the region.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to (312) 353-3214.
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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