Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Georgia Cities Likely for EPA List Areas Could Lose Federal Road Funds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Georgia Cities Likely for EPA List Areas Could Lose Federal Road Funds

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Augusta, Macon and Columbus probably will be the next Georgia communities to join the metro-Atlanta region in violating federal air pollution standards, while Brunswick is close to qualifying for the list, an environmental coalition reported yesterday.

Using 1997 and 1998 data from smog monitors placed around the state, the Georgia Airkeepers Campaign predicted which counties will fail to meet the ozone standard of 0.085 parts per million set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1997. Ozone is the key ingredient in smog.

At the end of the summer, the EPA will combine those numbers and 1999 data to designate "non-attainment" counties.

The EPA already has declared metro-Atlanta a non-attainment area, and, as a result, the 13-county region has been stripped of federal highway funding.

State lawmakers created the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority during the recent General Assembly session to come to grips with the issue. Its membership currently is limited to metro-Atlanta, but it will add members from other parts of the state if they run afoul of federal air quality standards.

"Air pollution is no longer just a metro-Atlanta problem," said Robert Pregulman, the Atlantabased southern field director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "It's a Georgia problem."

According to the report released yesterday, Macon's air was found to contain an average ozone concentration of 0.1 parts per million in 1997 and 1998. Augusta's two-year average was 0.093 parts per million, and Columbus measured 0.085 parts per million, right at the EPA standard.

Brunswick's air contained an average ozone concentration of 0.081 during 1997 and 1998, the report said.

Former Glynn County Commission Chairman Fred Tullos said he was surprised that the Brunswick smog monitor measured air pollution so close to the new federal standard. …

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