News Releases from Region 07
Labadie, Missouri, Area Proposed for Attainment of National Sulfur Dioxide Air Quality Standard
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 10, 2020) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has informed Missouri Governor Mike Parson that EPA proposes the redesignation of the area around Labadie, Missouri, including parts of Franklin and St. Charles counties, to attainment/unclassifiable, demonstrating attainment of the 2010 1-hour Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act. Attaining the standard means cleaner air, improved health outcomes, and greater economic opportunities for cities and communities.
“Missouri and EPA have been working to improve air quality in the region for many years,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “This milestone is indicative of hard work by many people toward ensuring the health and welfare of Missouri citizens.”
Under President Trump, combined emissions of criteria and precursor pollutants in the U.S. have dropped 7% and the amount of SO2 in our air decreased 10%. Nationally, since the beginning of the Trump administration, EPA has redesignated 52 areas from nonattainment (or “unclassifiable”) to attainment for the criteria air pollutants that make up the NAAQS. This proposed redesignation, when finalized, will continue that progress.
The Franklin County-St. Charles County area encompasses the Ameren Labadie Energy Center, the main source of SO2 in the area. The area was characterized as unclassifiable in September 2015 because EPA did not have enough information to determine if the standard was met. To meet the standard, an area is assessed for the most recent three consecutive years of quality-assured, certified ambient air quality data.
Ameren installed and began operating an SO2 monitoring network at four locations around Labadie in order to characterize SO2 air quality in the area. Since commencement of the full monitoring network in 2017, air quality data has recorded ambient SO2 design value concentrations between 18 and 38 parts per billion, below the SO2 1-hour standard of 75 parts per billion. Monitoring at the four locations demonstrates ambient conditions attaining the SO2 NAAQS.
“This announcement is great news for our state, especially St. Charles and Franklin Counties,” said Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. “Ameren and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have worked diligently over several years to reach this point. I appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency recognizing those efforts and the success they have achieved. This decision by EPA will give local businesses more certainty to plan for the future, free up public resources and, most importantly, provide peace of mind to families in the area.”
“I appreciate the Trump administration’s continued efforts to improve upon public health protections for all Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03). “The EPA’s proposed redesignation of the Labadie, Missouri, area, which encompasses Franklin County and St. Charles County, to attainment/unclassifiable, is another step in the right direction in improving air quality in Missouri’s Third District and I applaud Ameren for their work with the EPA on getting their facility adjusted. I look forward to continue working with EPA on the redesignation for Jefferson County.”
Normally, redesignation is requested by a state’s governor and the state of Missouri is in the process of making such a request. Given the monitoring data provided by the state, along with the known pending redesignation request from Missouri, EPA has decided to move forward now and propose the redesignation under the agency’s Clean Air Act authority.
The Missouri redesignation is part of an announcement of proposals for redesignation in four states, including Nebraska, Ohio and Texas.
EPA will accept public comments on this proposed action for 30-days after it publishes in the Federal Register. Comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0292, may be submitted by one of the following methods:
- Go to www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
- Send comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0292.
- Out of an abundance of caution for members of the public and our staff, the EPA Docket Center and Reading Room are closed to the public, with limited exceptions, to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Our Docket Center staff will continue to provide remote customer service via email, phone and webform.
EPA encourages the public to submit comments via www.regulations.gov or email, as there may be a delay in processing mail and faxes. Hand deliveries and couriers may be received by scheduled appointment only. For further information on EPA Docket Center services and the current status, please visit us online at www.epa.gov/dockets.
In June 2010, EPA set a 1-hour average, health-based national air quality standard for SO2 at 75 parts per billion. The revised standard improves public health protection, especially for children, the elderly, and people with asthma. These groups are susceptible to health problems, including narrowing of the airways, which can cause difficulty breathing and increased asthma symptoms, associated with breathing SO2.
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