Washington area fails new EPA air standards

April 17, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 9 months ago

Region's air quality is one of the dirtiest in the country

This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The Washington Post article "Air Quality in the Region Fails EPA's New Test" on April 16.

The Washington area and 29 other states failed new EPA air quality standards. Regions not in compliance with the new standards received a three-year deadline to create plans to reduce emissions, according to The Washington Post.

The EPA has given the region until 2010 to clean up the air pollution as the air quality is only classified as "moderate." According to The Washington Post, regions with "severe" air quality will have 16 years to meet standards, while regions with "basic" ratings have until 2007 to comply.

The new standards require ozone levels to be no higher than 85 parts per billion over a period of 8 hours, according to The Washington Post. To reduce pollution, the government plans to curb power plant emissions and decrease sulfur emissions from on/off road vehicles. Region officials are also testing radar equipment that can detect polluting cars.

However, pollution that blows from other parts of the country into the Washington area accounts for a majority of the air pollution in the region, according to Joan Rohlfs, chief of air quality planning for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Rohlfs said that transportation pollution from other regions "accounts for 70 percent of the pollution we experience during the worst days of the summer."

Only 18 states in the country comply with the new initiative, which is the most ambitious proposal in 15 years, according to The Washington Post. EPA administrator Mike Leavitt estimated that industries would spend $50 billion dollars to meet the standards over the next 15 years.

Fourteen Maryland jurisdictions, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Kent and Queen Anne's counties, do not comply with the standards and were classified as moderate. The Virginia jurisdictions of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax City and Loudoun counties also received moderate classifications.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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