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Release Date: 10/3/1996
Contact Information: Bill Glenn, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1589

    (San Francisco)--Air quality on the lands of the Yavapai-Apache will receive extra protection after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced its approval of the tribe's request to be held to the Clean Air Act's highest standards for preserving air quality and protecting public health.

     While ensuring that future emissions from newly constructed or expanded industrial air pollution sources are well controlled, today's redesignation of the Yavapai-Apache reservation as a "Class I" area does not include any other restrictions on activities in Arizona's Verde Valley.

     "This redesignation will allow for healthy economic development while making sure that the skies over these areas remain clean," said Felicia Marcus, regional administrator for U.S. EPA's western region.

     All areas of the country that meet federal health standards for air quality are designated Class I or II.  Congress designated many national parks and wilderness areas as Class I areas, which receive the greatest degree of protection against air quality degradation.  All other "clean air" areas in the country were identified in the Clean Air Act as Class II.

     The Clean Air Act explicitly allows tribes and states to redesignate their lands to a more protective level following analysis of the health, environmental, economic, social and energy effects of the change.  In a Class I area, increases in air pollution that would reduce overall air quality are limited to a greater degree than in Class II areas.

     The Yavapai-Apache tribe first conducted a public hearing on its redesignation plan in October 1993 before submitting its request to U.S. EPA.  U.S. EPA gave public notice of the proposed redesignation in April 1994 before holding a June public hearing and accepting public comment over a four-month period.  After reviewing the comments, the Agency has determined that all the requirements for redesignation have been met.  U.S. EPA has also determined that the redesignation will have minimal impact on the siting of new businesses in the Verde Valley.

     In all areas of the country, the Clean Air Act requires that major new or expanding sources of air pollution must minimize their emissions as much as possible to prevent significant deterioration of air quality.

     The text of today's actions is currently available on the Internet's World Wide Web at the U.S. EPA Region 9 site ( under Air Programs.  The actions will soon be officially published in the Federal Register.

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