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EPA Announces Air Quality Improvements and Clean Diesel Grant in Indiana

09/03/2020
Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov)
312-353-5069

INDIANA (September 3, 2020) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) today announced air quality improvements in Indiana and a $521,201 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant to reduce diesel emissions throughout the state. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede joined IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis to announce Morgan County’s formal redesignation to attainment of the air quality standard for sulfur dioxide and the grant. 

“Improving air quality is good for the environment and helps everyone breathe easier, especially children and other vulnerable populations,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA’s partnership with Indiana has resulted in three areas in Indiana being formally redesignated to attainment to air quality standards this year, with Morgan County the most recent one. In addition to cleaner, healthier air, once an 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.”

“IDEM’s partnership with EPA continues to improve air quality across Indiana,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “This grant from EPA to reduce diesel emissions, along with Morgan County’s air quality improvements, will result in cleaner air for all Hoosiers.”

“It is great to see that the hard work of those ensuring we are breathing clean air is paying off here in Indiana with the redesignation of Morgan County to attainment for sulfur dioxide,” said Sen. Mike Braun. “This comes on the heels of redesignations to attainment for Indianapolis and Muncie for sulfur dioxide and lead, respectively.  Congratulations are in order to both the EPA and IDEM on working together in these areas to improve air quality for each of us.”

“This re-designation is great news for Morgan County Hoosiers,” said Rep. Trey Hollingsworth. “Not only does this mean better air quality and health benefits, but also reduced air permitting restrictions to encourage economic development as we work to build our local economy back up after coronavirus.”

“Morgan County, with help from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency, has achieved higher air quality for its citizens,” said Rep. Jim Baird. “I’m confident the strategy they have in place will lead to years of cleaner air and healthier lives for the communities in Morgan County.”

EPA is redesignating the Morgan County area to attainment of the most recent federal air quality standard for sulfur dioxide and approving Indiana’s maintenance plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the sulfur dioxide standard. Analyses of air monitoring and modeling data show that air concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the area meet the 2010 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide. The redesignation was finalized after the public had an opportunity to comment on the proposal. Now that the Morgan County area has been redesignated, the area meets all NAAQS.

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 and home to more than 21,000 people. 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. 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 also means less chances of haze and acid rain, which can harm sensitive ecosystems.

Earlier this year, EPA and IDEM also redesignated the Indianapolis area to attainment of the 2010 sulfur dioxide air quality standard and the Muncie area to attainment of the 2008 lead standard. Nationally, all air pollutants regulated under NAAQS – sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone – have significantly decreased thanks to the various air quality management and control strategies developed and implemented at the local, state, regional, and national level.

EPA’s DERA award will help IDEM implement projects such as diesel oxidation catalysts, diesel particulate filters, closed crankcase filtration systems, idle reduction technologies, vehicle and engine replacements and repowers, as well as technologies to improve the fuel efficiency of various diesel-powered equipment. IDEM will focus on four key areas: rail-oriented reductions, marine-oriented reductions, on-road vehicle applications, and nonroad vehicle improvements. These projects will reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter and other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Reducing diesel pollution means fewer health problems, such as aggravated asthma, lung damage, and other serious issues. Children are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have faster breathing rates.

For more information about DERA: https://www.epa.gov/dera

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 the official notice of the redesignation: https://www.federalregister.gov/