Current Attainment Status
In 2009, Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon Counties are all designated as attainment - maintenance areas for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 1997 8-hour standard for ozone. Allegan County is the only county in West Michigan that is currently listed as being in nonattainment, due largely to ozone transported across Lake Michigan from places like Chicago, IL, and Gary, IN. However, West Michigan ozone monitors in counties other than Allegan recorded violations to the 8-hour standard during the summer of 2007. Implementation of measures to further reduce ozone are required to prevent further violations and/or redesignation as nonattainment for the 1997 standard.
As of March 12, 2008 the EPA strengthened the 8-hour standard for ground-level ozone. It is likely that counties in West Michigan will again be designated as nonattainment for ozone in 2010. A new plan for reaching attainment will be needed. This reemphasizes the importance of individual actions taken by West Michigan residents who remain critical to our campaign to reduce ozone violations at area monitors.
Across the nation, areas with nonattainment status for the ozone standard are at a distinct disadvantage. People in poor air quality areas may incur added healthcare costs. Control measures to reduce emissions can increase costs for business and residents. New businesses are not allowed to increase emissions in the region, and more stringent air permitting requirements apply in nonattainment areas. If clean air cannot be maintained after redesignation to attainment, additional measures to reduce pollution must be implemented.
The likelihood of maintaining clean air is greatly improved when businesses and individuals voluntarily take steps to reduce emissions on days when the area is particularly vulnerable to unhealthy pollution levels. Your actions do make a difference in West Michigan's air quality, so please sign up for Clean Air Action Day notifications and consider alternatives to driving, especially on these sensitive days.
The West Michigan Clean Air Coalition is a partnership of businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, industry, and non-profit organizations in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Kalamazoo counties working together to achieve cleaner air in the region through the education and promotion of voluntary emission reduction activities.
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