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The air is cleaner in Washoe County

Release Date: 01/03/2008
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-760-5419, simms.mary@epa.gov

First time in 30 years Truckee Meadows area re-designated as attainment for the national carbon monoxide health standard

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 1/3/2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to officially re-designate the Truckee Meadows area of Washoe County, Nev. as an attainment area for the national health standard for carbon monoxide.

The EPA also is proposing to approve the county's plan that shows how the region will continue to maintain healthy levels of carbon monoxide in the area for years to come.

“Washoe County has cleaner air today, in part because of investments in clean vehicles and fuel,” said Deborah Jordan, Air Division director for the U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Area residents can feel good, knowing that they’re breathing cleaner air.”

Washoe County carbon monoxide conditions have improved significantly in the past 30 years thanks to the federal motor vehicle control program, State vehicle inspection and maintenance program, local oxygenated gasoline program, and local residential wood-burning regulations. The Truckee Meadows area has not violated the federal carbon monoxide standard in the last 13 years.

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless gas formed when carbon in fuel is not burned completely. The Truckee Meadows portion of Washoe County, an area that includes the cities of Reno and Sparks, was originally designated nonattainment for CO in 1978.

Air quality in the area will continue to improve thanks in part to two measures the EPA is also proposing to approve in this action: the local wintertime oxygenated gasoline rule, and the state’s basic motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program.

Health threats from lower levels of CO are most serious for those who suffer from heart disease. But, even for healthy people there are many negative health affects associated with high levels of CO. People who breathe high levels of CO can develop vision problems, reduce their ability to work, and have difficulty performing complex tasks. At extremely high levels, CO is poisonous and can cause death.

Notice of the proposed approval will be published in the Federal Register, along with provision for a 30-day public comment period. The EPA will consider all comments before making its final decision.

The proposal and information regarding how to submit comments can be viewed at: http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/washoe/frn011004.pdf. Comments can be submitted at: http://www.regulations.gov. More information can be seen at http://www.epa.gov/region09/

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