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EPA proposes to move forward on requests for ozone redesignations


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is proposing to move forward with final actions on requests to redesignate 18 areas in Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia as meeting the national outdoor air quality standard for ground-level ozone. EPA said ozone air quality in these areas has improved enough to meet the standard, and the states have requested redesignation.

The Michigan areas are Flint, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Lansing-East Lansing, Muskegon, Benzie County, Huron County, Mason County and Cass County. The Ohio areas are Lima, Canton-Massillon, and three areas that cross Ohio-West Virginia state boundaries. The last three areas are Marietta, Ohio, and Parkersburg, W.Va.; Steubenville, Ohio, and Weirton, W.Va.; and an area in Ohio across the Ohio River from Wheeling, W.Va.

EPA had proposed to redesignate these areas, but final action on those redesignations has been held up pending Agency review of a December decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That decision rescinded EPAís rule that classified ozone nonattainment areas for the 8-hour standard.

In this supplemental proposal, EPA is seeking comment on its belief that final action on the redesignation proposals is appropriate under the Clean Air Act and long-standing policies on state redesignation requests. The Agency believes the courtís ruling does not alter these requirements or prevent redesignation. EPAís supplemental proposal will be published soon in the Federal Register. EPA will accept comments on the proposal for 15 days from the date of publication.

In April 2004, EPA designated these areas as nonattainment because their air quality did not meet national outdoor air quality standards for ground-level ozone. The designations became effective in June 2004.


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