Coweta re-designated as 'nonattainment' for air pollution

From Staff Reports
news@newnan.com
The U.S. Environmental Protection Division has re-designated Coweta, and 14 other Georgia counties, as “reviewed” areas for ground level ozone pollution.
The re-designation comes just a few short months after the region was officially declared “in attainment” of the ozone air quality standard.
Previously, the 1997 standard of 0.8 parts per billion was used to determine whether or not areas were considered in attainment or nonattainment of air quality standards.
As of Tuesday, the EPA now uses the 2008 standard of 0.75 parts per billion. The EPA released a long list of counties throughout the country that are nonattainment for ozone.
The Georgia counties are considered “marginal” when it comes to nonattainment. Some counties in other states are listed as moderate, severe, or, in the case of Los Angeles and California’s San Joaquin Valley, extreme.
“This more stringent standard better protects public health,” said Chris Glazier, spokesman for Georgia’s The Clean Air Campaign.
All of the nonattainment counties are in the metro-Atlanta area.
The metro-Atlanta area officially reached attainment early this year, said Brian Carr, communications director for The Clean Air Campaign. Not all metro-counties failed under the new standard.
“There are some places that have cause to celebrate,” Carr said. “Where as it is 15 counties today, in the past it would have been greater than 20.”

“Progress is being made,” Carr said.

The ozone standard is set to be revisited in 2013. Under the Clean Air Act, the standard has to be reviewed every five years, Carr said.

Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division has already been using the 2008 ozone standard in forecasting Smog Alerts and reporting when areas in the state have bad air days, “so no significant increase in Smog Alerts or ozone violations is expected,” Glazier said.

“We still have work to do to clean our air,” Glazier said. “In metro-Atlanta, vehicle emissions account for almost 50 percent of smog-forming emissions.

“Since this is also Air Quality Awareness Week in Georgia, now is the perfect time for commuters and employers to consider finding a better way to work,” Glazier said.

The Clean Air Campaign works with Georgia employers, commuters, and schools to encourage “clean commuting” and other air-friendly actions. The organization also distributes smog alerts.

The announcement coincides with the start of “smog season,” which began May 1. That is also when the annual burn ban went into effect.

Most outdoor burning is prohibited during the burn ban. Only recreational fires, such as camp fires, are allowed.

There are also some exceptions for specific agricultural burning, such as burning stubble off of fields.



More Local

Two suspects arrested in homicides

Two suspects have been arrested and charged in Monday's double homicide on Widgeon Trail. Kenya Nneaka Sewell, 26, and Jarico Deshun Brown, ... Read More


Family, friends: Defendant is sleepwalker

Day four of the trial of Benjamin Tyler Gray for the alleged rape of a woman in Senoia saw his defense team call a DNA expert to the stand T ... Read More


Senoia Council

‘Walking Dead’ fence has to come down

The chain-link fence that has provided secure parking and storage for equipment used in the filming of “The Walking Dead” in dow ... Read More


Parent/Teacher Conferences

Ruth Hill to implement new model

Ruth Hill Elementary School was recently selected as one of 10 schools in Georgia to implement Academic Parent Teacher Teams, a new parent-t ... Read More


Defense draws judge’s ire in rape case

The trial of a Newnan man indicted for rape continued in Coweta County Superior Court early Monday. Attorneys were able to hear the testimon ... Read More

Rape Trial

Connections, memories part of testimony

Three witnesses were called to testify in Monday afternoon’s session of the trial of Benjamin Tyler Gray, 29, accused of rape after an ... Read More