BALTIMORE (February 2, 2004) – Maryland has asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove Kent and Queen Anne’s counties from a list of jurisdictions with poor air quality.
Ozone levels have decreased in the two counties and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has requested that Kent and Queen Anne’s be removed from a list of “nonattainment” areas. EPA declared air in the counties “marginal” in 1991 because the counties failed to meet the federal one-hour ozone standard.*
In the decade since then, government and businesses in the counties have reduced emissions. Pollution controls in the Baltimore and Washington “severe” air quality regions have also helped the two counties achieve clean air by reducing the amount of pollution carried from these heavily populated areas to the Eastern Shore by prevailing west-to-east wind patterns.
“This is an accomplishment of which the counties and their citizens should be proud,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, acting secretary of the environment. “Kent and Queen Anne’s counties are the first nonattainment area in Maryland to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the pollutant ground level ozone.”
*Air quality monitors measure ozone concentrations 24 hours a day. If a single monitor records a concentration of more than 124 parts per billion (a “code red” day) at any time during a 24-hour period, the region is considered to have failed the one-hour ozone standard. When ozone levels drop below 80 parts per billion, the air quality is designated “code green.”