New EPA limits will make difference but more may be needed

Capital News Service
LANSING — Stricter new smog limits by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency may improve air quality, but some regions of Michigan have a long way to go to meet it, according to an air quality advocacy group. The EPA this month called for ground-level ozone levels of no more than 70 parts per billion, five parts per billion less than the old standard issued in 2008. The American Lung Association considers it a step in the right direction. “We support the ozone standard and we are definitely supportive of making sure that the new standard gets implemented. Even though we think it could be lower- 60 ppb, moving to the 70 ppb is at least moving in the right direction,” said Ken Fletcher, the advocacy specialist for the American Lung Association in Michigan.

Results mixed in new air quality study

Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan has reduced overall air pollution since 2012, but its most populous counties still don’t earn a passing grade, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. Its State of the Air report provides grades of A to F in two areas: particle pollution and ozone action days. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) declares ozone days when smog and weather conditions create the risk of health problems.
Wayne and Macomb counties received failing grades in the ozone day category. Other counties that failed include Allegan and Muskegon, while Oakland, Ottawa and St. Clair received Ds.

Environmental aspects of proposed bridge draw little attention

Capital News Service
LANSING – The long battle over building a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor has been almost free of environmental debate. Instead, opponents and supporters of the proposed project are concentrating on social and economic issues of the project. The Snyder administration says Michigan and Canada have adequately studied the environmental impacts of building the controversial bridge. Gov. Rick Snyder’s deputy press secretary, Ken Silfven, said there are acceptable standards being met and that “state and federal environment requirements are not optional.”
Tim Fischer of the Michigan Environmental Council said the organization is not focusing on the proposed Detroit River International Crossing because the organization has other priorities. Among several environmental concerns, air quality is the most common factor identified. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects the rise in vehicles traveling between Detroit and Windsor to have a direct effect on air quality because of emissions of idling diesel trucks and bridge and highway traffic.