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Boyd County, Kentucky Area Attains Public Health Standard for Air Quality

Release Date: 08/03/2007
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – August 3, 2007) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has granted final approval of Kentucky’s redesignation request to redesignate the Kentucky portion (Boyd County) of the Huntington-Ashland nonattainment area to attainment for the 8-hour air standard for ozone. Additionally, EPA is approving a maintenance plan for Boyd County, which demonstrates how the Commonwealth will maintain attainment of the ozone standard. This final rule was published today and is effective on September 4, 2007.

“This redesignation reflects the improved air quality in the Boyd County area, which will help many people breathe easier,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer.

The redesignation to attainment is based on certified air quality monitoring data for a three-year period (2004, 2005, and 2006), which indicates that Boyd County has attained the 8-hour air standard for ozone. More current data indicates continued attainment. The Huntington-Ashland area consists of Boyd County in Kentucky and Cabell and Wayne counties in West Virginia. Region 3 is taking similar action for the West Virginia counties.

Ground-level ozone is a primary component of smog. Ozone is formed when a mixture of air pollutants are baked in the hot summer sun. These pollutants are released from sources such as cars and factories. Ozone can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. These health effects are of concern to everyone, but asthmatics, children and the elderly are especially at risk.