Six Counties Don't Meet Federal Air Quality Standards

Montgomery, AL – Restrictions on industrial development could be coming for six Alabama counties that failed to meet new federal standards for air quality. Jefferson, Shelby, Walker, Lee, Russell and Jackson Counties have four months of appeals...then the Environmental Protection Agency can stop polluting industries from locating in those counties without reductions in smog-causing soot. The counties could also be required to take action against pollution. State air officials say Alabama will fight the designations and request that only Jefferson and Russell counties be placed in the non-attainment category. Officials say the other counties were included only because they contribute to pollution problems or are in metro areas with particle pollution problems. For example, Jackson County is part of the Chattanooga area, while Lee County is near the Phenix City-Columbus, Georgia, area. The Birmingham area has been in violation of the federal Clean Air Act's ozone standards since 1978. Health officials say the hazy pollution caused by small particles is the worst threat in the air there.