Gov. Nixon Announced Mid-America Regional Council Received $45,960 to Fund Air Quality Planning Efforts in Kansas City Area

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Volume 37-253 For Immediate Release: Aug. 11, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, -- Gov. Jay Nixon announced the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded a subgrant to fund air quality planning programs in the Kansas City area.  The grant award total of $45,960 is a combination of federal and state dollars and will be used to fund air quality planning endeavors from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010.  During tough economic times, this infusion of grant funding will help the city protect its citizens and the environment by continuing its air quality planning efforts. 

This subgrant is awarded to the Mid-America Regional Council which serves as a partner to the state for air quality planning and education in the Kansas City area. A portion of the grant will be used to fund the Regional Air Quality Public Education Program. This program serves to educate Kansas City area residents about protecting air quality and has been instrumental in developing and maintaining the Regional Clean Air Action Plan which promotes voluntary measures that citizens can take everyday to reduce their effect on air quality.

MARC also assists the state and local air programs with data collection so that relevant and quality assured data is available to regional air quality planners. Access to quality assured data allows state air quality planners to develop the necessary strategies to improve air quality in the area.  Their assistance in monitoring the Toxics Release Inventory data helps inform the state about the release of toxic air emissions so they can be further controlled ensuring that air quality and public health is protected.

In addition, this funding allows MARC to provide area media outlets with information about the Air Quality Index and the eight-hour SkyCast formula to inform Kansas City area residents about increased ozone levels and poor air quality. Because of violations of the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard, the area is currently controlled by an Ozone Maintenance Plan. The plan contains contingency measures to reduce ozone precursors of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. If violations continue, additional measures to reduce pollution will be required. 

Exposure to ground-level ozone, or smog, can contribute to health problems. Those who suffer from asthma, heart disease, emphysema and other respiratory diseases may experience increased breathing difficulty. Long-term exposure to high levels of ozone can even cause healthy adults to experience breathing difficulty, especially those who exercise or work outdoors.

The Department of Natural Resources' Air Pollution Control Program will administer the grant funds. The Department is committed to working closely with regional partners to assist with funding efforts that improve air quality in Missouri.