News Releases from Region 05
EPA and Indiana Propose Morgan County Now Meets Federal Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide
MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. (July 14, 2020) --Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) announced their proposal to formally redesignate the Morgan County area to attainment of the most recent federal air quality standard for sulfur dioxide. Analyses of air monitoring and modeling data show that air concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the area meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide.
“EPA’s partnership with the State of Indiana has resulted in cleaner, healthier air in the Morgan County area which is home to more than 21,000 people,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “In addition to cleaner air, once the Morgan County area is redesignated, local businesses will face fewer air permitting restrictions, paving the way for the infrastructure investment and economic development that help create jobs. In EPA Region 5, 24 areas have been redesignated to attainment since 2017 that were nonattainment in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.”
EPA worked collaboratively with IDEM to develop strategies for attaining the sulfur dioxide standard in the Morgan County area, which is comprised of Clay and Washington Townships. Retiring coal-fired units at the Indianapolis Power and Light – Eagle Valley Generating Station and using a sorbent injection system at the Hydraulic Press Brick facility resulted in a significant reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions.
EPA is proposing to redesignate the Morgan County area to attainment and to approve Indiana’s maintenance plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the sulfur dioxide standard. The redesignation will not be final until the public has had an opportunity to comment on the proposal. If the Morgan County area is redesignated, it will meet all NAAQS.
Reduced sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere means cleaner healthier air for the residents of Morgan County, especially children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma and are particularly sensitive to effects of sulfur dioxide. Reduced levels of sulfur dioxide and other sulfur oxides is also good for the environment. A decrease in these compounds means less chances of haze and acid rain, which can harm sensitive ecosystems.
Nationally, average concentrations of sulfur dioxide decreased 82% from 2000 to 2019. All other air pollutants regulated under NAAQS – carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone – 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.
For more information about NAAQS: https://www.epa.gov/naaqs
For information about air quality in your area: https://www.airnow.gov
For information about air quality trends: https://www.epa.gov/air-trends
For instructions about how to provide public comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/