Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (August 31, 2005) –The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has announced that as of August 17, Washington County, Maryland has met the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone and air quality requirements for an Early Action Compact (EAC).

“The Washington EAC process has raised county awareness on air quality issues, enabling Washington County to achieve healthier air quality and meet federal requirements,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “Tools and processes are in place to limit pollution and to warn citizens of poor air quality so they can make lifestyle changes that minimize its affect on public health.”

EACs provide a strong incentive for state and local governments, civic leaders and business interests to develop innovative, cost-effective strategies for improving ozone air quality in ways that are tailored to individual communities. EPA published the Final Rule on August 17, 2005 in the Federal Register.

Under the EAC, communities like Washington County are required to develop and execute a State Implementation Plan (SIP). This SIP consists of an Air Quality Plan that outlines how, with the addition of federal and state control measures, the EAC area will achieve local reductions one to two years earlier than the December 31, 2007 deadline. If Washington County meets the 8-hour ozone standard of 85 parts per billion by the deadline, the county will then be designated as in attainment. Significant air pollution controls were implemented in Washington County prior to the county’s participation in the EAC. These air pollution controls are significantly stricter than what is required by the federal government. They are in place to ensure the state’s air quality goals are met and that Marylanders live in a healthier environment.

“New pollution control measures, both local and regional, will bring Washington County into attainment of the 8-hour ozone standard. Our research efforts in air quality modeling demonstrate that new pollution control measures are working,” said Tom Snyder, director of MDE’s Air and Radiation Management Administration. They will significantly reduce the amount of pollution measured in Washington County – and assure clean air for its citizens.”