NEW JERSEY RECORDS STEEP DROP IN SMOG;
STATE COMMITTED TO MEETING EVEN TOUGHER AIR QUALITY GOAL
With the close of the summer ozone season approaching, the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection recorded only four violations of
the Federal air quality standard for ground level ozone, a decline of
more than 90 percent since 1988.
This summer, the state on only four days exceeded the current federal
regulatory standard for ground level ozone. The standard allows a
maximum of 120 parts per million (ppm) over a one-hour period.
However, the U.S. EPA last summer adopted a much tougher health
standarad of no more than 80 ppm over an eight-hour period. By that
standard, which was adopted with the support of the Whitman
Administration, the air in New Jesey was unhealthful 39 times this
"The progress we have made over the past decade in sharply reducing
violations of the one-hour ozone standard proves that with the right
mix of policy and technology, we can reduce pollution levels while
enjoying the benefits of a robust economy," State Environmental
Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn said. "Our success to date should
give all New Jersey residents confidence that we can further reduce
ozone air pollution and eventually meet the more protective eight-hour
Shinn said emission control efforts implemented over the past two
decades are succeeding in reducing ground-level ozone, or "smog" as
it is commonly known. Although the state has yet to meet the new
health-based standard, the progress in curbing ozone air pollution is
undeniable, Shinn said.
In 1988, New Jersey exceeded the federal standard for ozone on 45 days
at sites statewide. This summer only four of the 15 air monitoring
stations recorded violations of the one-hour federal ozone standard.
In recent years ozone levels in all parts of the state are normally
within Federal standards, except for a few sites downwind of the
Philadelphia metropolitan area.
"This is a significant and measurable record of achievement," said
Shinn. "Ozone is the nation's most persistent and acute air
pollution problem and no state has made more progress reducing ozone
than has New Jersey."
Shinn this week forwarded to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documentation on
the attainment of goals in the state's clean air plan.
DEP has proposed new, more stringent regulations to reduce oxides of
nitrogen (NOx), a key component of ozone. The Whitman Administration
is urging EPA to adopt a proposal that would sharply reduce NOx
emissions from 22 eastern and midwestern states including New Jersey.
"Reducing NOx emissions from out-of-state sources, combined with
further emission reductions from in-state sources, is the key to
achieving the new health-based federal ozone standard," Shinn said.
The DEP maintains an air quality hotline for residents to call and
learn the daily forecast. Unhealthful air quality is forecast when
ozone levels approach the new federal standard. These forecasts are
also faxed to radio and TV stations, newspapers and wire service
offices for daily weather reports. This practice has been followed
throughout the ozone season. DEP will soon announce new public health
On Monday, Commissioner Shinn submitted to the U.S. EPA the state's
plan to meet the one-hour standard for ozone by 2005 in southern New
Jersey and by 2007 in northern New Jersey. The plan relies on
continued implementation of the Clean Air Act and other measures such
as EPA's regional program to require 22 eastern states to cap NOx
Threatened federal sanctions still remain as the state needs to revise
its plan to reduce volatile organic compounds, due to the delayed
implementation of the enhanced auto inspection program. The revised
plan will soon be submitted to EPA.