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U.S. EPA announces Bay Area attains federal ozone standard

Release Date: 4/2/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano (415) 947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO - The Bay Area has attained the federal air quality standard for ozone over the past three consecutive years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

    In addition the agency is approving several elements of the Bay Area's 2001 clean air plan.
   
    "Significant air quality improvement has been made in the Bay Area and we commend that effort," said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's air division director for the Pacific Southwest region.  "We must now build on this progress in order to further improve air quality for Bay Area residents and their downwind neighbors."

 
    With this action, Clean Air Act sanctions, including a highway funding freeze, continue to be deferred as long as the area continues to meet the federal 1-hour ozone standard.
                                                       
    This action also does not constitute a formal redesignation of the Bay Area into the attainment category.  The next step is for the California Air Resources Board to submit a plan showing how the area will continue to maintain the clean air standard for 10 years.  Once the plan is submitted the state can request the EPA to redesignate the Bay Area as attaining the federal 1-hour ozone standard.


    The Bay Area has been out of compliance with the federal air quality standard since 1998.


    Ground-level ozone is the primary ingredient of smog and is harmful to public health.  Exposure, even at relatively low levels, can cause respiratory symptoms such as reduction in lung function, chest pain and cough.


    For more information go to, http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/sfbayoz/

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