Initiatives to improve air quality standards across the country have made an impact on the Region.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state of Indiana announced April 28 recent air monitoring data showed Lake and Porter counties, city of Indianapolis, and Muncie, are meeting federal air quality standards.
The EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are redesignating the Indianapolis area to attainment of the 2010 sulfur dioxide air quality standard, the Muncie area to attainment of the 2008 lead standard, and proposing to redesignate Lake and Porter counties to attainment for the 2008 ground-level ozone standard. Three years of air monitoring data show these areas now meet these National Ambient Air Quality Standards set to protect public health.
“Hoosiers across Indiana are breathing cleaner air today because of IDEM’s collaborative partnership with (the) EPA,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “Achieving air quality attainment in Muncie and Indianapolis, along with the proposed air quality redesignations for Lake and Porter Counties, reflects our continuing effort to protect human health and our environment.”
Reduced sulfur dioxide, ozone and lead in the atmosphere means healthier air, the government said. Reduced levels of these pollutants are also good for the environment.
Nationally, the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air has decreased 80% from 2000 to 2018, lead concentrations by 93% and ozone by 16% during that period, the government said. All other air pollutants regulated under NAAQS – carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter – 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.
IDEM worked collaboratively with the EPA on strategies for attaining the sulfur dioxide and lead standards in Indianapolis and Muncie, respectively, which included revising emission limits on facilities in those areas. Along with redesignating the areas to attainment, EPA is approving Indiana’s maintenance plan to ensure that the areas will continue to meet the standards.
The redesignations were finalized after the public had an opportunity to comment on the proposal and EPA responded to comments, the government said.
In addition, EPA and IDEM are proposing to redesignate Lake and Porter counties, which are home to more than 660,000 people, to attainment of the 2008 NAAQS for ozone as well as approving Indiana’s plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the standard.
According to emissions modeling, federal regulations that set fuel and motor vehicle emission standards helped to improve ozone concentrations in the area, the government said.
The government said Lake and Porter county’s redesignation and air quality maintenance plan will not be final until the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal. If Lake and Porter counties are redesignated to attainment for ozone, the area will meet all federal air quality standards.
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