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EPA proposes to redesignate Phoenix area as attaining carbon monoxide standard

Release Date: 9/22/2004
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307

    SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday proposed to approve the state of Arizona's request to redesignate the Phoenix metropolitan area as having attained the federal health standard for carbon monoxide.

    The Phoenix area has not violated the federal carbon monoxide standard in the last seven years, despite its growth into one of the country's major metropolitan areas.  The EPA also proposed to approve the state's plan that shows how the region will continue to maintain healthy levels of carbon monoxide in the area.


     The agency also proposed to make a boundary change to exclude the Gila River Indian Community from the Phoenix carbon monoxide maintenance area.

    "We commend the state, local governments and the community for their hard work in achieving this important milestone," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "We will continue to build on this progress, improving air quality for Phoenix area residents."


    "This redesignation is a tremendous achievement that reflects a collaborative effort among all levels of government and the private sector," said the Maricopa Association of Governments Chair Keno Hawker, who also served on the MAG Air Quality Policy Committee. "The cities, county, and the Arizona legislature have worked diligently for more than 20 years to implement some of the most aggressive air quality measures in the country to achieve this goal."


    "This is a very important achievement for the Valley, and is due in great part to our highly effective vehicle emissions inspection program, the use of cleaner burning gasoline and other efforts," said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens. "We need to make sure that we continue to do the things that clearly have been working so well."


     The public has 30 days to comment on the EPA's action once the proposed rule is published into the Federal Register.

    Cars and other gasoline-powered motor vehicles cause more than 75 percent of the Valley's carbon monoxide -- a clear, odorless and poisonous gas.  It enters the bloodstream and reduces the delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues.  Carbon monoxide can have serious health effects on children, the elderly, and people with respiratory ailments.  


    The area has a number of innovative programs including a nationally recognized vehicle emissions inspection program, a cleaner burning gasoline program, pollution reduction measures for commercial and industrial sources, and woodburning restrictions.

 
    After the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, the Phoenix area was designated as a moderate carbon monoxide nonattainment area. The area failed to attain the standard by the moderate area deadline of Dec. 31, 1995.  In 1996, the EPA reclassified the area to serious.


    To view the document go to: http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/phxco/index.html


     For more information call Wienke Tax with the EPA at (520) 622-1622 or send public comments in writing to tax.wienke@epa.gov.
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