Release date: 20 June 2012
LAKE CHARLES -- The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, in partnership with the Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development Commission (IMCAL), hosted a meeting on June 20 in Lake Charles on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Ozone Advance Program.
Representatives from DEQ outlined the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone along with a synopsis of the current ozone conditions in the Calcasieu region.
Air quality in Louisiana continues to improve and is the best it has been since the promulgation of the Clean Air Act, but EPA is required to periodically review and may strengthen the standard for pollutants like ozone as they deem necessary. The 2008 revisions to the ozone standard, along with potential changes from EPA’s 2013 standard review, may place the Lake Charles metropolitan area out of attainment for ozone. The EPA’s Ozone Advance program is one important step available to assist those areas that are currently at risk of being designated as non-attainment.
Local governments can enroll in the free program, through which they will identify a series of measures that may be implemented to reduce pollution levels in the community. These factors can then be taken into account by EPA when future attainment designations are made. Participation in the program could provide those communities with additional time to reach compliance before reaching a status of non-attainment. DEQ staff is working with governmental agencies and community leaders across the state to get areas enrolled in the program.
“Meetings such as these are important to inform citizens, business leaders and local governments on programs they can initiate to reduce ozone formation in their area while improving the quality of the air,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. “EPA's Ozone Advance Program benefits all near non-attainment areas in several ways, and regions that participate in the program will be better positioned to avoid a non-attainment designation in the future.”
One method of getting informed about air quality is by signing up for EnviroFlash, which is a free automatic notification system. Members can receive emails or texts on daily air quality or just when it reaches an orange level. EnviroFlash is also used to notify the public about unusual air quality events. Sign up today on the DEQ Web site: Enviroflash.
For more information on the Ozone Advance program, check out the EPA Web site: http://www.epa.gov/ozoneadvance/.