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U.S. EPA approves plan to reduce dust and particulate pollution in Las Vegas area

Release Date: 5/3/2004
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227 (gentile.laura@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the Clark County Department of Air Quality Management's pollution control plan, which will reduce particulate matter pollution in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Since 2001 Clark County has met the EPA's annual particulate matter standard, which sets limits on the average value for pol lution concentrations measured over the course of the year. By 2006 the county will need to meet a 24-hour standard, whi ch establishes a daily limit on air pollution levels.

"The rules and commitments made in this plan will move Clark County in the right direction," said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's air division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "The department is taking aggressive steps toward cleaning up the air in Las Vegas and is on a path to meet the 24-hour standard by the 2006 deadline."

Clark County submitted its plan to the EPA in 2001. After the EPA proposed to approve the plan in January 2003, the agency addressed numerous public comments as part of the final decision on the plan.

The main source of particulate air pollution in the Las Vegas area is dust, which is kicked up into the air from vehicle traffic and from disturbed areas, including unpaved roads, construction sites and vacant lots.

Particulate matter affects the respiratory system and can cause damage to lung tissue and premature death. The elderly, children and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.