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Release Date: 1/10/2002
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, U.S. EPA, 415/947-4248,

     First Urban 'Serious Area' Particulate Matter Plan in the Nation to be Approved by the EPA
     SAN FRANCISCO   During a speech at the Economic Club of Phoenix, EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri today announced that the Agency will approve Arizona's particulate matter plan designed to bring Phoenix air quality into attainment with federal standards.  The Phoenix metropolitan area is currently in nonattainment for both the 24-hour and annual health- based particulate matter standards.

     "Clean air is everyone's goal and this plan is proof of how federal, state and local partnerships can work together to solve health problems," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.  "The Phoenix area is making great strides in reducing airborne particulates and EPA looks forward to working with the community as we continue those efforts to ensure that this new plan cuts air pollution, improves public health for asthmatics, children and other sensitive individuals and helps to bring cleaner air to the Phoenix area."    

     The primary cause of particulate 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.  Under this compliance-based plan, Phoenix must implement control measures for all significant sources of airborne particulates, such as paving, gravel, or stabilizing the surface with water or other dust suppressants.  Farmers will apply best management practices to reduce fugitive dust from agricultural fields, and $16.5 million of federal highway funds will be available to reduce fugitive dust from both paved and unpaved roads.
     "Once again, Arizona proves itself to be a national leader in developing controls that will achieve healthful air quality. I am grateful that Gov. Whitman came here personally to acknowledge our commitment and hard work, which would not have been possible without the leadership, investment and sacrifice of our farmers, the business community, and all levels of government," Gov. Jane Dee Hull said.

     The small particles can affect breathing, aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease, alter the body's defense systems against foreign materials, and damage sensitive lung tissue, contributing to cancer and premature death.  The elderly, children, and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, and asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.      

     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.

     The plan, to be signed on Jan. 14, is designed to bring Phoenix air quality into attainment with federal standards by December 31, 2006.  The Phoenix area has already met the health-based standards for 1-hour ozone and carbon monoxide.

     Information on the plan will be available after Jan. 14, 2002 at: http//

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