Friday, June 23, 2000

State: N.Ky. violating smog rules

Counties face penalties despite EPA OKing metro Cincinnati

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — State officials recommended that 18 counties — including Boone, Kenton and Campbell — be declared out of compliance with federal Clean Air standards.

        The standards regulate smog. Violations could require new environmental rules for drivers and companies in the area.

        The Environmental Protection Agency, using its current, less stringent smog rules, gave the Cincinnati metro area a clean bill of air health on June 8, declaring the region in compliance for smog.

        A community that's labeled out of compliance can find it more complicated to expand or attract new businesses and improve roads and highways.

        At issue is the way the EPA orders states to decide which areas exceed national standards for various pollutants, including ground-level ozone, which can cook up into eye- and lung-burning smog in sunlight.

        At least one Kentucky county intends to fight its smog-zone designation.

        McCracken County and Paducah filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to prevent the state from including them with the others.

        The list of counties recommended for nonattainment status are Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt, Hancock, Daviess, Henderson, McCracken, Marshall, Christian, Boyd, Greenup, Campbell, Kenton, Boone, Scott, Fayette, Simp son and Warren.

        The state Division for Air Quality, following guidance from the EPA, looked at air-pollution monitoring for the years 1997, 1998 and 1999. All the counties in Kentucky that exceeded the EPA's 1997 rules were put on the smog-zone list except for five, said Heather Frederick, spokeswoman for the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet.

        They are Edmonson, Graves, McLean, Trigg and Livingston counties, and they escaped because nearly all their smog blows in from beyond their county lines, she said.

        The EPA will review the list and decide whether to accept, reject or modify it following dis cussions with state officials, Ms. Frederick said.

        She expects a final decision early next year.


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