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Donna Heron, 215-814-5113
PHILADELPHIA – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today reclassified Richmond, Va. for ozone control because communities there have demonstrated that they will achieve clean air standards sooner than required.
On June 15, 2004, Richmond was designated as moderate non-attainment areas under the final designations for the EPA’s new eight-hour ozone standard.
At the request of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA has agreed to reclassify Richmond from moderate to marginal non-attainment under the federal standards.
Richmond is receiving the marginal nonattainment status after showing it will meet ozone-control goals three years earlier than required by the federal Clean Air Act – 2007 instead of 2010.
Richmond is one of nine ozone areas in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. reclassified by EPA, as a 90-day clock expired today for such actions under the new eight-hour ozone-control categories, so-called because pollution monitoring is averaged over eight hours per day.
“This reclassification reflects the fact that Richmond will achieve clean air sooner than required,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
The new Richmond nonattainment area expands the old Richmond nonattainment area. Under the new eight-hour ozone standard, Prince George’s and Charles City counties and Petersburg City have been added to the Richmond nonattainment area.
In order to ensure early attainment of the ozone standard, Richmond has already begun the process to implement the control measures currently required for the old ozone nonattainment area into the new expanded eight-hour nonattainment area. These measures include Stage 1 vapor recovery for gasoline, and reasonably available control technology requirements for stationary sources of volatile organic compounds. Virginia hopes to have these measures implemented in the extended area by summer of 2006.
Also, the Virginia legislature, in its upcoming session, will continue its consideration of two additional measures that impact the Richmond area. One is the remote sensing for vehicle emissions; the other is a clean smokestacks bill patterned after the North Carolina clean smokestacks program.
Finally, Virginia, after consultation with local stakeholders, will implement some or all of the ozone transport commission model rules that have already been implemented in the northern Virginia area.