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EPA releases study of ozone transport to western Michigan

Release Date: 04/29/2009
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254,

No. 09-OPA074

EPA releases study of ozone transport to western Michigan

(Chicago, Ill. - April 29, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today released a study the agency conducted to address the effect of transported ozone and ozone-forming emissions in southwestern Michigan.

The Western Michigan Ozone Study was required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The act required EPA to review the ozone problem in western Michigan and to discuss what it will take to meet federal air quality standards for ozone.

Although ozone levels in western Michigan exceed federal air quality standards, levels in this part of the state have declined due to federal and state control programs.

Key findings of the study:

* Ozone levels in western Michigan are dominated by transport of ozone and ozone-forming emissions from major urban upwind areas in the Lake Michigan area such as Chicago, Gary and Milwaukee as well as from other areas in the eastern United States. At shoreline locations, the contribution of ozone-forming emissions from sources in Michigan is negligible.

* Analyses of emissions control programs being implemented in upwind areas show that all of western Michigan will be attaining or close to attaining the 1997 standard by June 2009. These projections include emissions reductions in the upwind areas and no additional local measures in western Michigan.

* Control programs adopted to bring areas into attainment of the 1997 ozone standard will also make substantial progress toward attainment of the new, more stringent 2008 standard.

* A regional approach to air quality planning in the Midwest is an effective method to address transport and meet air quality goals for the region. Future analyses of proposed control scenarios show that this approach will continue to be effective in lowering ozone levels in western Michigan.

* On Jan. 21, 2009, a public meeting to present the draft findings of the report was hosted in Grand Rapids by the west Michigan chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association. The meeting was attended by interested local groups (business, governmental and non-governmental), tribes, staff of U.S. Congressmen from the west side of Michigan and representatives of Michigan state legislators.

Ozone is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. Ozone can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

A copy of the study is at

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