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EPA redesignates three Indiana counties to attainment of smog standard


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 announced today it has approved a request by the state of Indiana to redesignate St. Joseph and Elkhart counties in the South Bend area and LaPorte County to attainment of the national health-based eight-hour outdoor air quality standard for ozone (smog).

EPA said complete, quality-assured, outdoor air monitoring data for 2003, 2004 and 2005 meets the standard, and quality-assured data for 2006 shows the counties continue to meet the standard.

“Indiana did a great job of reducing smog in these counties,” said EPA Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. “The result is both healthier air and an improved business climate for the residents of the counties.”

“We’ve pressed hard for this decision, which is based on sound science and will be very important to bringing new jobs to these three counties. The restrictions served their purpose, but now that air quality is healthier, fairness requires that they be lifted in the interest of economic growth and progress,” said Governor Mitch Daniels.

The Agency also approved the state plan to continue to meet the eight-hour health-based ozone standard through 2020 and motor vehicle emissions budgets included in the plan.

EPA’s action will soon be published in the Federal Register. The redesignation becomes effective upon publication.

Ground-level ozone is commonly referred to as smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. The pollutants are released from cars, factories and a wide variety of other sources. Smog can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain.


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