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EPA and Indiana Announce Indianapolis, Muncie, Lake and Porter Counties Now Meet Federal Air Quality Standards

04/28/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2020) —  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State of Indiana announced that recent air monitoring data show the city of Indianapolis, and the areas of Muncie, Lake and Porter counties are meeting federal air quality standards.

EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) are formally redesignating the Indianapolis area to attainment of the 2010 sulfur dioxide air quality standard, the Muncie area to attainment of the 2008 lead standard, and proposing to redesignate Lake and Porter counties to attainment for the 2008 ground-level ozone standard.  Three years of air monitoring data show these areas now meet these National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) set to protect public health. 

“Under President Trump’s leadership we are working hard to bring areas into attainment with our air quality standards,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s action recognizes the fact that people in these counties in Indiana are now breathing healthier air.  The Trump EPA is committed to working with state and local governments to improve air quality.”

“Hoosiers across Indiana are breathing cleaner air today because of IDEM’s collaborative partnership with EPA,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “Achieving air quality attainment in Muncie and Indianapolis, along with the proposed air quality redesignations for Lake and Porter Counties, reflects our continuing effort to protect human health and our environment.”

“EPA’s partnership with the State of Indiana has resulted in cleaner, healthier air across the state in areas that are home to more than one million people overall,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “In addition to cleaner air, once these areas have been redesignated, local businesses face fewer air permitting restrictions, paving the way for the infrastructure investment and economic development that help create jobs.”

“As co-chair of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, I am proud that President Trump’s EPA is focused on meaningful environmental results that is making our air cleaner across Indianapolis and our state,” said U.S. Senator Mike Braun (IN).    

“Today’s announcement by the EPA and IDEM is an encouraging sign of progress for local environmental protection measures. The decrease in sulfur dioxide levels demonstrates that positive environmental change is possible with community partners dedicated to protecting Indianapolis,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “While this progress is critical, there is still significant work to be done in order to continue increasing air quality in Marion County. Now more than ever, public health remains a top priority at the local level in order to help ensure that all Indianapolis residents can live healthier lives.”

Reduced sulfur dioxide, ozone and lead in the atmosphere means healthier air for the residents of Indiana, especially for children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions. Reduced levels of these pollutants are also good for the environment. Nationally, the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air has decreased 80% from 2000 to 2018, lead concentrations by 93% and ozone by 16% during that time period. All other air pollutants regulated under NAAQS – carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter – have also significantly decreased thanks to the various air quality management and control strategies developed and implemented at the local, state, regional, and national level.

The Indianapolis area, which consists of Perry, Wayne, and Center Townships in Marion County and is home to 388,000 people, has been formally redesignated to the attainment of the 2010 NAAQS for sulfur dioxide. The Muncie area, which consists of a portion of the city of Muncie, has been formally redesignated to attainment for the 2008 NAAQS for lead. The Indianapolis and Muncie areas now meet all federal air quality standards.

IDEM worked collaboratively with EPA to develop strategies for attaining the sulfur dioxide and lead standards in Indianapolis and Muncie, respectively, which included revising emission limits on facilities in those areas. Along with redesignating the areas to attainment, EPA is approving Indiana’s maintenance plan to ensure that the areas will continue to meet the standards. The redesignations were finalized after the public had an opportunity to comment on the proposal and EPA responded to comments.

In addition, EPA and IDEM are proposing to redesignate Lake and Porter counties, which are home to more than 660,000 people, to attainment of the 2008 NAAQS for ozone as well as approving Indiana’s plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the standard. According to emissions modeling, federal regulations that set fuel and motor vehicle emission standards helped to improve ozone concentrations in the area. The area’s redesignation and air quality maintenance plan will not be final until the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal.  If Lake and Porter counties are redesignated to attainment for ozone, the area will meet all federal air quality standards.

For more information about air quality: https://www3.epa.gov/airquality/cleanair.html

For current air quality information in your area: https://www.airnow.gov/

For instructions about how to provide public comments on the proposed redesignations for Lake and Porter counties: https://www.federalregister.gov/