Supervisors working on solutions to meet EPA air standards

HERNANDO — DeSoto County supervisors say they are working on solutions to meet federal ozone levels.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency included parts of DeSoto with Memphis, which has ozone emissions above allowable limits set by federal regulation. It includes urban areas of DeSoto County and Crittenden County, Ark., in the Memphis ozone “non-attainment” area.

DeSoto County officials fear the designation would hinder development by forcing industrial prospects to comply with more stringent requirements.

Ozone is a lung-damaging pollutant created when emissions from vehicles and industry react in sunlight.

At a meeting Monday, The Commercial Appeal reports DeSoto officials said they would do everything they can to show the EPA that the county has improved on attainment of the ozone standard.

“We’re putting together some approaches that we’ll announce soon. We have three years to prove attainment, and we feel strongly that we can,” said Supervisor Lee Caldwell.

DeSoto County is under the gun to meet a July 20, 2013, conformity determination deadline to submit a plan showing the county planned to conform to the higher standards.

The county would have to show it can attain the EPA ozone standard of 75 ppb (parts per billion) by Dec. 31, 2015.

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