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EPA and Wisconsin Announce All of Sheboygan County Now Meets Federal Air Quality Standard for Ozone

Inland and Shoreline Sheboygan County areas among 24 attainment redesignations in the Great Lakes States under President Trump

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WASHINGTON (July 13, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Shoreline area of Sheboygan County is now meeting the 2008 federal air quality standards for ground-level ozone, which means cleaner and healthier air for Wisconsin residents.

“This is one more tangible sign that air quality is improving across America,” said EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Anne (Idsal) Austin. “Strong state, local and federal partnerships make environmental progress like this possible, and working together, we are committed to helping areas like Sheboygan meet and maintain clean air standards for all Americans.”

Both Inland and Shoreline areas of Sheboygan County are now meeting federal air quality standards for ground-level ozone. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler previously announced the Inland area redesignation during a visit to Sheboygan in June . The official notifications of both actions were published in the Federal Register on July 10, 2020.

The Trump Administration has redesignated 24 nonattainment areas since 2017 in EPA Region 5, which is comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Attainment redesignations mean cleaner air, improved health outcomes, and greater economic opportunities for cities and communities across the country.

Under President Trump, combined emissions of criteria and precursor pollutants in the United States have dropped 7% and the amount of ozone in our air decreased 4%. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, EPA has re-designated 49 areas from non-attainment to attainment for the criteria air pollutants that make up the NAAQS.

“I applaud the Trump Administration, Administrator Wheeler and the EPA for recognizing the error of the previous administration’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act’s national ambient air quality standards and finalizing these long-overdue changes,” said U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman (WI-06). “I have been working to make this correction since my time in the state legislature and am glad that it is finally being done. These new rules will ensure Sheboygan County remains in attainment, meaning our air is cleaner and our local businesses and manufacturers are free from unnecessary prohibitive regulations.”

"Sheboygan County was pleased to work with the County Chamber, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, State and Federal Legislators and other community leaders to advocate for this change," said County Administrator Adam Payne.  "People and businesses of Sheboygan County were being held accountable for air pollution generated in other states, and we appreciate the action of the EPA to address this unfair and punitive situation." 

All of Sheboygan County was designated in 2012 as a nonattainment area for the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) based on a multifactor analysis, including air-quality monitoring data. In 2019, EPA split the full-county nonattainment area into separate Inland Sheboygan and Shoreline Sheboygan areas. This action provided Wisconsin with additional flexibility in meeting Clean Air Act requirements, and acknowledged differences in the factors influencing air quality in the separate areas. 

Recent monitoring data show both the Inland and Shoreline Sheboygan areas are currently attaining the 2008 NAAQS for ozone.

Nationally, the concentration of ground level ozone has decreased 21% from 2000 to 2019. All other air pollutants regulated under NAAQS – sulfur dioxide, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter – have also significantly decreased thanks to technological advances and various air quality management and control strategies developed and implemented at the local, state, regional, and national level.

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