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August 21, 2008




All counties designated as being ‘in attainment’ with new rules


(JACKSON, Mississippi) - The air quality in each of Mississippi’s 82 counties meets new, stricter guidelines for fine particulate matter set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Governor Haley Barbour announced today.


In 2006, the EPA tightened its air quality standards, reducing the standard for fine particle pollution from 65 to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Earlier this week, the federal agency released the status of counties designated as being in attainment or in non-attainment under the new guidelines. According to data released by the EPA, from 2004 to 2006 no county in Mississippi violated the lowered fine particle pollution standard.


“The importance of this EPA designation for Mississippi counties is twofold: First, the data confirms that in addition to our many natural resources, Mississippi is also home to some of the cleanest air in the country, which contributes to our high quality of life and helps protect our environment. Second, this is great news for our businesses looking to expand their facilities or considering locating in Mississippi,” Governor Barbour said.


The Governor was notified by EPA Region 4 Administrator Jimmy Palmer of the state’s attainment status for the 2006 24-hour particular matter standard. If Mississippi had at least one area under consideration for a non-attainment designation, the state would be required to take corrective action to improve air quality, such as stricter control on industrial facilities and additional planning requirements for transportation-related sources.


“Imposing stricter regulations on businesses through tightened environmental standards could have delivered a severe blow to many companies in Mississippi, particularly along the Gulf Coast where we are working to recover from Katrina,” Governor Barbour said. “But the EPA’s designation of all of Mississippi counties as being in attainment means our job creation efforts won’t be stifled and that we can continue bringing more and better jobs to the state.”


Nationally, 25 states had at least one area in non-attainment. The EPA will make formal designations of attainment and non-attainment areas in December 2008.