Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska and Texas Breathing Clean Air as EPA Proposes to Redesignate Areas in Attainment for Sulfur Dioxide 2010 NAAQS
Through collaboration with States, EPA now has data to determine four new areas are meeting air standards
WASHINGTON (August 14, 2020) — This past week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to find that areas in Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, and Texas are meeting the 2010 federal air quality standards for sulfur dioxide. Attaining the standard means cleaner air, improved health outcomes, and greater economic opportunities for cities and communities.
“Based on newly available data, EPA proposes that four new areas in Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Texas be redesignated as being in attainment of air quality standards for sulfur dioxide,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Improved monitoring shows that during the three-year period between 2017-2019, these areas met the 2010 standards. This is great news and a result of the strong partnerships between local, state and federal authorities.”
EPA is proposing to redesignate to “attainment/unclassifiable” the:
- portions of Franklin and St. Charles Counties in Missouri;
- all of Lancaster County in Nebraska;
- all of Gallia County and a portion of Meigs County in Ohio; and
- all of Milam County in Texas.
Under President Trump, combined emissions of criteria and precursor pollutants in the U.S. have dropped 7 percent and the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in our air decreased 10 percent. Nationally, since the beginning of the Trump Administration, EPA has redesignated 53 areas from non-attainment (or “unclassifiable”) to attainment for the criteria air pollutants that make up the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These four proposed redesignations, when finalized, will continue that progress.
“This announcement is great news for our state, especially St. Charles and Franklin Counties,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (MO). “Ameren and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have worked diligently over several years to reach this point. I appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency recognizing those efforts and the success they have achieved. This decision by EPA will give local businesses more certainty to plan for the future, free up public resources and, most importantly, provide peace of mind to families in the area.”
“I appreciate the Trump Administration’s continued efforts to improve upon public health protections for all Americans,” said U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03). “The EPA’s proposed redesignation of the Labadie, MO area, which encompasses Franklin County and St. Charles County, to attainment/unclassifiable, is another step in the right direction in improving air quality in Missouri’s Third District and I applaud Ameren for their work with the EPA on getting their facility adjusted. I look forward to continue working with EPA on the redesignation for Jefferson County.”
“Big win for our environmental security: the EPA has recognized Lancaster County, Nebraska for its success in reducing sulfur dioxide levels,” said U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01).
EPA designated each of these areas as unclassifiable in round two of designations for sulfur dioxide NAAQS that were published in 2016. At that time, EPA did not have enough information to determine if these areas attained the 2010 standard for SO2. Since then, the states added additional monitoring to better understand air quality in those areas. EPA now has the three years of data required to determine that these areas are meeting the standards. If finalized, both Gallia and Meigs counties in Ohio will be in attainment for all NAAQS.
For 50 years, the EPA has maintained its commitment to maintaining public health by improving air quality and reducing air pollution. Since 1990, the national average concentration of SO2 has dropped by 90 percent.
More information is available at https://www.epa.gov/sulfur-dioxide-designations/sulfur-dioxide-designations-regulatory-actions