Monday, November 16, 2009

Who wants clean air?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Did you know Charlotte-metro's air is on the nasty-air list? It is.

The Q.C. is ranked No. 8 on the American Lung Association's list of worst air, in terms of ozone. That's right. We're up there with Los Angeles and Houston, and, according to their report, our air quality is getting worse -- not better.

Plans to clean up the Charlotte region’s air have stalled even as federal regulators are pushing state and local officials to deal with pollution.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started the clock on penalties that could cripple the region’s road funding and block industrial development unless clean-air plans are submitted and approved by 2011.

State environmental regulators in both Carolinas and a regional transportation group are expected to detail those plans.

But the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been held up in negotiations with the EPA over terms for an extension — one year or two — dictating when the region has to meet current ozone standards. Those talks have tied up the release of a major section of North Carolina’s state implementation plan, says Laura Boothe, the state’s division of air quality attainment planning branch supervisor.

The EPA must approve both states’ plans, known in government circles as an SIP, by May 8, 2011, or transportation dollars could be cut off for the region — an area that includes Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Lincoln, Cabarrus, Rowan and York counties, as well as southern Iredell County.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Business Journal article here.

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