Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | March 20, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says Ohio EPA director unhappy with EPA’s proposal to demote Columbus and Cincinnati’s air quality rankings for ozone.

The Director of Ohio’s EPA testified at a hearing in Washington, D.C., to express her somber concerns about U.S. EPA proposal to downgrade the air quality classification of two large Ohio metropolitan areas under the 1997 ozone standard.  U.S. EPA is proposing to reclassify the Columbus and Cincinnati metropolitan areas to “moderate nonattainment,” a lower classification rank that requires additional mandatory air quality controls such as vehicle emissions testing.


The Director of Ohio EPA testified that U.S. EPA’s proposal to downgrade the air quality status of two metropolitan areas would impose difficult air quality requirements on the state. Moreover, Ohio EPA’s director complained that EPA gave Ohio insufficient time to comply with the 1997 ozone standard. In her testimony, Ohio’s EPA Director pointed out to the federal agency that:


1. U.S. EPA is basing its proposed action on stale data generated more than six years ago. The Columbus area is meeting the 1997 ozone standard currently and Cincinnati is close to meeting it.


2. This action would require additional, federally mandated air pollution controls without extending the timeframe (2010) Ohio has to implement those controls.


3. There is a newer ozone standard for which U.S. EPA will be classifying nonattainment areas next year.


4. Ohio EPA is concerned with the lack of coordination between the 2008 ozone standard and this proposal. States should be spending their limited resources to comply with the current standard based on current data, not one based on stale data.


No word yet on Kentucky’s response to EPA’s proposal and its potential effect on Northern Kentucky residents and businesses. 



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