News Releases from Region 05

04/14/2021

CHICAGO (April 14, 2021) –Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced portions of Outagamie County, Wisconsin, meet the most recent National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide. The area now meets all NAAQS set to protect public health.  

“Today’s announcement is great news for the residents of Outagamie County, who are all breathing cleaner air,” said EPA Region 5 Acting Administrator Cheryl Newton. “Improving air quality by reducing sulfur dioxide especially benefits vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and people who suffer from asthma.”

EPA initially designated the area in December 2020 as nonattainment for the 2010 1-hour sulfur dioxide NAAQS based on air monitoring data from 2017-2019. However, more recent air quality monitoring from 2018-2020 showed significant improvement, resulting in EPA modifying the designation to attainment.

All of Outagamie County now meets the sulfur dioxide standard. The modification announced today does not include Oneida Township, which includes Oneida Reservation, Oneida Off-Reservation Trust Land, and portions of Seymour Township adjoining Oneida Nation Tribal Lands, which had been designated as attainment in 2020.

The designation was published today in the Federal Register. This action supplements the fourth and final round of 2010 sulfur dioxide NAAQS designations and is based on the most recent three consecutive years, 2018-2020, of quality assured, certified ambient air quality monitoring data.

Reduced sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere means cleaner healthier air for the residents of Outagamie County. Reduced levels of sulfur dioxide and other sulfur oxides also benefits the environment. A decrease in these compounds means less chances of haze and acid rain, which can harm sensitive ecosystems.

From 2000 to 2019, the national average concentrations of sulfur dioxide decreased 82%. 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 sulfur dioxide designations:  https://www.epa.gov/sulfur-dioxide-designations

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

For instructions about how to provide public comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/

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