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News Releases from Region 05

EPA and Wisconsin Propose Newport State Park Area in Door County Now Meets Federal Air Quality Standard for Ozone

03/18/2020
Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov)
312-353-5069

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

“The air in the Newport State Park area is cleaner as a result of the cooperation between the state and federal governments,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton. “People will be able to enjoy this beautiful area of Wisconsin with the additional benefit of even cleaner, healthier air. Over the past two years, EPA’s partnerships with states in Region 5 have dramatically improved air quality in ten former non-attainment areas, which now meet the national health-based standard.”

The Newport State Park area was designated in 2018 as a marginal nonattainment area for the 2015 ozone NAAQS based on a multifactor analysis, including air-quality monitoring data.

According to emissions modeling, federal regulations that set fuel and motor vehicle emission standards helped to improve ozone concentrations in the area.

Recent monitoring data show the Newport State Park area is currently attaining the 2015 NAAQS for ozone. EPA is proposing to redesignate the Newport State Park area to attainment and to approve Wisconsin’s plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the ozone standard. The area’s redesignation will not be final until the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal. If the redesignation is finalized, the Newport State Park area will be in attainment for all NAAQS.

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