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News Releases from Region 05

EPA and Wisconsin Announce Kenosha Area Now Meets Federal Air Quality Standard for Ozone

04/20/2020
Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov)
312-353-5069

Kenosha, Wis.  – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) announced their proposal to formally redesignate the Kenosha area to attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. Recent air monitoring data show the Kenosha area now meets the national standard set to protect public health. 

“The air in the Kenosha area is cleaner as a result of the cooperation between the local, state and federal governments, helping to protect the health of 130,000 people” said EPA Deputy Region 5 Administrator Cheryl Newton

The Kenosha area was designated non-attainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS in June 2012. According to emissions modeling, federal regulations that set fuel and motor vehicle emission standards helped to improve ozone concentrations in the area.

Recent air monitoring data show the Kenosha area, bounded by the I-94 corridor to the west and Lake Michigan to the east in Kenosha County, is currently attaining the 2008 NAAQS for ozone. EPA is proposing to redesignate the Kenosha area to attainment and to approve Wisconsin’s plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the ozone standard. The proposal was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2020. The area’s redesignation will not be final until the public has an opportunity to comment. 

Nationally, the concentration of ground level ozone has decreased 17% from 2000 to 2017.

Ground level ozone is not emitted directly into the air but is formed when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOCs. Reducing ozone will help people to experience fewer health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion. Less ground-level ozone will also help to avoid worsening conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, and it will help to avoid reducing lung function or inflaming the linings of the lungs. Children will especially benefit from reduced exposure to ozone because their lungs are still developing.

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/