The U.S. EPA is proposing final actions on requests to redesignate 18 areas in Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia as meeting the national outdoor air-quality standard for groundlevel ozone. According to the EPA, ozone air quality in these areas has improved enough to meet the standard, and the states have requested the redesignation.
In Michigan, the areas are Flint, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Lansing-East Lansing, Muskegon, Benzie County, Huron County, Mason County, and Cass County. The areas in Ohio are Lima, Canton-Massillon, and areas that cross the Ohio/West Virginia line: Marietta and Steubenville, OH, and Parkersburg, and Weirton, WV. Wheeling, WV, is included, too. The EPA designated these areas as below standard in June 2004.
The final action on these redesignations has been held up a pending agency review of a December decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That decision rescinded EPA's rule that classified ozone nonattainment areas for the 8-hour standard.
In a supplemental proposal, the EPA is seeking comment on its position that final action on the redesignations is appropriate under the Clean Air Act, and long-standard policies on state redesignation requests. The agency believes the court's ruling does not alter these requirements nor prevent redesignations.