EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

03/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/02/2021 12:00

EPA, Indiana, and local governments achieve cleaner, healthier air in Southwest Indiana


CHICAGO (March 2, 2021) --Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management announced the Southwest Indiana area consisting of portions of Daviess and Pike counties will be formally redesignated to attainment of the most recent federal air quality standard for sulfur dioxide. Analyses of air monitoring and modeling data show that air concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the area meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard set to protect human health and the environment. This Southwest Indiana area also meets all other standards for all air pollutants regulated under NAAQS.

'EPA's partnership with state and local government has resulted in cleaner, healthier air in Southwest Indiana, which is especially helpful for vulnerable populations,' said EPA Region 5 Acting Administrator Cheryl Newton. 'In addition, local businesses will have more flexibility for infrastructure investment and economic development.'

'IDEM works closely with EPA to ensure Indiana's air continues to improve for all Hoosiers,' said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. 'The redesignation of southwest Indiana for sulfur dioxide is a big win for our state.'

Reduced sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere means cleaner, healthier air for the residents of Southwest Indiana, especially children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma. Reduced levels of sulfur dioxide and other sulfur oxides are also beneficial for the environment. A decrease in these compounds means less haze and acid rain, which can harm sensitive ecosystems.

EPA worked collaboratively with IDEM to develop strategies for attaining the sulfur dioxide standard in this Southwest Indiana area, which consists of portions of Daviess and Pike counties. This area's sulfur dioxide concentrations have decreased substantially due to national sulfur dioxide control strategies used to improve flue gas desulfurization control equipment installed at the Indianapolis Power and Light Petersburg Generating Station. The plant now meets recently approved emission limits. A decrease in sulfur dioxide concentrations are also attributed to the permanent closure of the Hoosier Energy Ratts Generating Station.

EPA is redesignating this Southwest Indiana area to attainment and approving Indiana's maintenance plan to ensure that the area will continue to meet the sulfur dioxide standard. The redesignation was confirmed after the public had the opportunity to comment on the proposal. A notice has been published in the Federal Register and the redesignation will be effective April 30.

Nationally, average concentrations of sulfur dioxide decreased 82% from 2000 to 2019. All other air pollutants regulated under NAAQS - carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone - have also significantly decreased thanks to the various air quality management and control strategies developed and implemented at the local, state, regional, and national level.

For more information about NAAQS: https://www.epa.gov/naaqs

For information about air quality in your area: https://www.airnow.gov

For information about air quality trends: https://www.epa.gov/air-trends