OHIO VALLEY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio EPA recently announced the proposed redesignation of the Gallia and Meigs County area to attainment/unclassifiable for the federal air quality standard for sulfur dioxide, according to a press release from the EPA.
Air monitoring data show that this area now meets the most recent National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide, and the area already meets all other federal air quality standards set to protect public health, stated the press release.
“We are proud of the work we have accomplished in partnership with Ohio to help achieve this redesignation and are pleased to confirm that the air quality in this area is attaining the sulfur dioxide air quality standard, which helps to protect people’s health,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede.
“The proposed recognition that Gallia and Meigs counties are meeting the national sulfur dioxide standard reflects continuing progress in efforts to improve air quality and the quality of life for Ohio residents,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson.
The press release continued, “Under President Trump, combined emissions of criteria and precursor pollutants in the United States have dropped 7% and the amount of sulfur dioxide in our air decreased 10%. Nationally, since the beginning of the Trump Administration, EPA has redesignated 52 areas from non-attainment (or “unclassifiable”) to attainment for the criteria air pollutants that make up the NAAQS. This proposed redesignation, when finalized, will continue that progress.
“This area, located along the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio, was designated unclassifiable for the sulfur dioxide air quality standard in 2016 due to insufficient information. To help clarify the area’s attainment status, Ohio placed four new sulfur dioxide air quality monitors in the vicinity of the Gavin and Kyger Creek power plants in Gallia County, and collected data from 2017 to 2019 that demonstrated sulfur dioxide concentrations in the area are below the 2010 NAAQS for sulfur dioxide.
“The redesignation will not be finalized until the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal. If Gallia and Meigs counties meet the air quality standard for sulfur dioxide, the area will be in attainment for all NAAQS.
“Keeping sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere below the NAAQS means cleaner and healthier air, which is especially important for children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma Reduced levels of sulfur dioxide and other sulfur oxides are also good for the environment. A decrease in these compounds means less chances of haze and acid rain, which can harm sensitive ecosystems.”
Nationally, average concentrations of sulfur dioxide decreased 80% from 2000 to 2018. All other air pollutants regulated under NAAQS – carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter – have also significantly decreased thanks to the various air quality management and control strategies developed and implemented at the local, state, regional, and national level, according to the press release.
For more information about air quality: https://www3.epa.gov/airquality/cleanair.html
For current air quality information in your area: https://www.airnow.gov/
To read the proposed redesignation and instructions on how to comment: https://www.federalregister.gov.
Information provided by EPA.