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BAY AREA CLEAN AIR MILESTONE: NATIONAL HEALTH STANDARD ATTAINED!

Release Date: 4/24/1995
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA , (415) 744-1578 Terry Lee, BAAQMD, (415) 749-4900 Cathryn Hilliard, ABAG, (510) 464-7914 Catalina Alvarado, MTC, (510) 464-7783 Dan Pellissier, Cal/EPA, (916) 324-9670 Contact for Saturday, April 21 only: Randy Wittorp, BAAQMD, (415) 749-4697

 San Francisco -- Five agencies responsible for efforts to improve
the Bay Area's air quality announced a major victory in the
decades-long struggle against smog -- attainment of the national
health standard for smog-forming ozone.  


     U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Felicia Marcus officially
redesignated the San Francisco Bay Area as having attained the
federal Clean Air Act's ozone standard, in a ceremony jointly
sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA),
the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of
Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the California Environmental
Protection Agency (Cal/EPA).    


     This achievement is good news for all six million people in
the Bay Area.  The air is now substantially healthier than it was
25 years ago, even though the number of motor vehicles has
doubled since 1970, and population has increased almost 50
percent.  The Bay Area is the largest metropolitan area in the
nation to meet the federal ozone standard.  


    "The document I'm signing today certifies that 25 years of
effort by Bay Area residents, and hundreds of Bay Area
businesses, environmental groups, and government agencies, has
paid off," said Felicia Marcus, regional administrator for U.S.
EPA's western region.  "Today, the Bay Area officially becomes
the largest metropolitan area in the nation to meet the federal
Clean Air Act's health standard for smog-forming ozone.  We can
all breathe easier.  Thank you all."


     "The fact that the Bay Area has gotten to this point is a  
tremendous accomplishment in light of the two-fold growth in
population and vehicles over the last 30 years," said Milton
Feldstein, the Air Pollution Control Officer of the Air District.
"Not only will Bay Area residents benefit from clean air but
business will benefit from a stronger economic climate because of
redesignation," he said.


     "Bay Area business leaders, air quality officials and
environmental advocates are to be applauded for their efforts to
make the Bay Area the nation's largest urban area to attain the
federal ozone standard.  Through Governor Wilson's leadership, we
will help other parts of the state follow the Bay Area's fine
example," California Secretary for Environmental Protection James
M. Strock said.


     "The redesignation of our region as an attainment area for
ozone is a historic achievement for the Bay Area.  It could only
have come about as a result of the cooperative efforts of
numerous governmental agencies, transit operators, the business
community, and many others," said MTC Chair Dianne McKenna.  "MTC
is proud to be involved in this public-private partnership, which
is committed to improving air quality in the region."


     According to ABAG's President, Contra Costa County
Supervisor Tom Torlakson, "ABAG is very pleased to have been an
active partner over the last 20 years in the region's march to
attain clean air through all the required planning and
implementation programs.  We're very proud of this achievment and
look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with the
Air District, MTC, Cal/EPA/ARB, and U.S. EPA as we go even
further to meet other federal and state standards."


     More than half the Bay Area's population is particularly
susceptible to air pollution, including those with heart or lung
ailments, children and senior citizens, athletes and pregnant
women.  Attainment of the clean air standard for ozone means less
air pollution-related illness among those groups, with benefits
to business of greater productivity and less worker time lost to
pollution-related sickness.  In addition, business will be
relieved of some administrative burdens and some federal
pollution mandates associated with non-attainment areas.


     However, the redesignation does not mean that efforts to
clean the air will slow down.  The Bay Area must maintain the
federal ozone standard, and move closer to meeting the more
stringent state ozone standard which was exceeded on 13 days in
1994.  The public will have to play an active role in these clean
air efforts, since half the Bay Area's pollution comes from motor
vehicles.  Once again this summer the Air District will ask
residents to "Spare the Air" by reducing nonessential driving and
other activities that pollute on days when pollution is
approaching unhealthful levels.


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