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EPA Region 4 Proposes to Approve Georgia Ozone Redesignation Request

Release Date: 04/20/2005
Contact Information:

April 20, 2005

Contact: Laura Niles Phone: (404) 562-8353

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is proposing to approve a redesignation request, submitted by the State of Georgia, to reclassify the Atlanta nonattainment area to attainment for the health-based 1-hour air standard for ozone (smog).  Additionally, EPA is proposing to approve a maintenance plan for the Atlanta area which demonstrates how the State will maintain the 1-hour ozone standard.

“This redesignation reflects the improved air quality in the Atlanta metropolitan area, which will help many people breathe easier,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer. 

The proposed reclassification to attainment is based on air monitoring data for a 3-year period (2002, 2003, and 2004), which indicates that the Atlanta area has attained the 1-hour air standard for ozone.  EPA is also proposing that the Atlanta area has met the five criteria for redesignation to attainment specified in the Clean Air Act.

The Atlanta area consists of the following counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale.

Ground-level ozone is a primary component of smog.  Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants are baked in the hot summer sun.  These pollutants are released from cars and factories.  Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain.  These health effects are of concern to everyone, but asthmatics, children and the elderly are especially at risk.