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Steubenville Area Attains Federal Air Pollution Standard for Sulfur Dioxide

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WASHINGTON (July 13, 2020) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved West Virginia’s request to redesignate its portion of the Steubenville, Ohio-West Virginia area to attainment for the 2010 federal sulfur dioxide national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act. The 2010 standard remains current after a 2019 EPA review.

“Steubenville’s air quality progress is another milestone in 50 years of environmental achievements in America,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “A priority goal for this Administration is to significantly reduce the number of areas in the United States that do not meet air quality standards. We’re accomplishing this ambitious goal through strong state and local partnerships and a common mission to ensure clean air for all Americans.”  

“All Americans deserve to breathe clean air, and meeting air quality standards is one of the Trump administration’s top priorities,” said EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Both West Virginia and Ohio should be commended for their work to improve air quality in the Steubenville region.”

“EPA’s strong partnership with Ohio and West Virginia has resulted in cleaner, healthier air for those who live and work in the Steubenville area,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “In addition to cleaner air, once Steubenville is redesignated, local businesses will face few air permitting restrictions paving the way for the infrastructure investment and economic development that can create jobs.”

In EPA Region 3, the Trump Administration has redesignated to attainment 4 areas since 2017 that were in nonattainment in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia (DC). In EPA Region 5, 24 areas were redesignated since 2017 that were nonattainment in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Attainment of the NAAQS means 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 U.S. have dropped 7% and the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted into our air decreased 16%. Nationally, the Trump Administration has redesignated 48 nonattainment areas since 2017. 

On August 5, 2013, the Steubenville, Ohio-West Virginia area was designated nonattainment for the 2010 sulfur dioxide NAAQS under the Clean Air Act. The Steubenville area is comprised of Cross Creek Township, Steubenville Township, Warren Township, Wells Township, and Steubenville City in Jefferson County, Ohio, as well as Cross Creek Tax District in Brooke County, West Virginia.

Last year, Ohio and West Virginia each formally submitted a request to redesignate their portions of the Steubenville area from nonattainment to attainment for the 2010 sulfur dioxide NAAQS under the Clean Air Act. In late 2019, EPA approved Ohio’s request for its portion of the Steubenville area to be redesignated to attainment of the 2010 NAAQS for sulfur dioxide.

On July 13th, EPA approved the redesignation of West Virginia’s portion of the Steubenville area from nonattainment to attainment for the 2010 sulfur dioxide NAAQS.

Reduced sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere means cleaner, healthier air for the citizens of the Steubenville area, especially children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma and are particularly sensitive to effects of sulfur dioxide. Reduced levels of sulfur dioxide and other sulfur oxides are also good for the environment. A decrease in these compounds means less chances of haze and acid rain, which can harm sensitive ecosystems.

Nationally, average concentrations of sulfur dioxide decreased 82% from 2000 to 2019. All other air pollutants regulated under the NAAQS – ozone, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter – 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.

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