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U.S. EPA PROPOSES TO APPROVE ARIZONA PLAN TO REDUCE DUST POLLUTION IN PHOENIX

Release Date: 9/17/2001
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, 415/744-1588, chavez.wendy@epa.gov

     SAN FRANCISCO    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed approving Arizona's dust control plan designed to bring Phoenix air quality into attainment with federal standards.

     The primary cause of dust pollution in the Phoenix area comes from windblown dust from construction sites, road building activities, agricultural fields, unpaved parking lots and roads, disturbed vacant lots, and paved road dust.    

     The Phoenix metropolitan area is currently in non-attainment of the 24-hour health-based standard.  Under the plan, Phoenix must implement control measures for all significant sources of airborne particulates to bring the area into attainment.  

     "The goal for all of us is clean air," said Jack Broadbent, the EPA's Air Director for the Pacific Southwest office.  "The Phoenix area has made great strides in reducing dust, and EPA looks forward to working with the community as we continue those efforts to ensure that this new plan results in cleaner air and a greater protection of public health."

     The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set national health standards for pollutants that threaten public health and the environment.  When an area violates a health-based standard, the Clean Air Act requires that the area be designated as non-attainment for that pollutant.  Arizona was required to develop a plan to reduce particulate matter in the Phoenix area to healthy levels.

     This proposal is the companion to the EPA's April 2000 proposed approval of the annual particulate matter plan.  Both plans together are designed to bring Phoenix air quality into attainment with federal standards by December 31, 2006.

     When dust is in the air, we breathe it into our lungs.  These small particles can become trapped in the lungs where they can damage tissue and impair the lungs ability to function.  The elderly, children, and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, and asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.  

    The U.S. EPA welcomes comments submitted directly to our office.  Please send those comments to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Attn: Frances Wicher (AIR-2), 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105, or fax (415)744-1076, or email wicher.frances@epa.gov.  We will be accepting comments for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register or until approximately Oct. 24th.

     For more information, contact Frances Wicher at (415)744-1248 or Colleen McKaughan at (520)498-0118 or you can visit: http//www.epa.gov/region09/air.

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