News Release

Area Leaders Strongly Oppose EPA Proposal to Change Regional Air Quality Planning

Jan 28, 2009

Area leaders have expressed their strong opposition to a recent EPA proposal that would significantly alter regional air quality planning.  The December 5, 2008 proposal would designate Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties as part of the Baltimore area when considering daily fine particle pollution standards.

The Chairmen of the COG Board of Directors, National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), and Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC) have signed a letter calling for the EPA to reconsider the proposal. 

Phil Mendelson, MWAQC Chair and District of Columbia Councilmember, stated that “the proposal was based on a flawed technical analysis by EPA, and that it would complicate the coordination of regional transportation and air quality planning.”

The letter urged EPA to keep Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties grouped with the rest of the Washington region, which has made great strides in reducing fine particle pollution and is in attainment of federal standards. 

The COG, TPB and MWAQC leaders said the current air quality planning process is the best and most effective means of achieving clean air for both the Washington and Baltimore regions.  They reiterated their support of MWAQC, which has served as the vehicle for coordinating regional air quality planning since 1992. 

They stated in the letter that “the fact that the entire Washington region is meeting the 2006 daily fine particle standard and the Baltimore region is rapidly approaching attainment is a testament to the effectiveness of the planning process and associated implementation actions carried out by MWAQC and TPB in cooperation with Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.”

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