The Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published two rules to formally change the air quality designation status in portions of Jackson and Jefferson counties from “nonattainment” to “attainment” for the outdoor air quality standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2). This action marks the culmination of nearly a decade of work by the Department of Natural Resources and Missouri’s industries to improve air quality in these areas.
In 2013, EPA designated portions of these two counties as nonattainment, because air quality monitors were regularly measuring violations of the SO2 air standard EPA established in 2010. The department worked with industries and other stakeholders to develop a plan to bring those areas into compliance. By 2017, the air monitors that had previously registered air quality violations had come into compliance as a result of the planned changes. The monitored air quality in these two areas has remained in compliance ever since.
An estimated 119,000 Missourians living in these two areas continue to benefit from the improved air quality achieved five years ago. The official attainment status carries with it lower permitting burdens that will help attract new businesses and other job-creating investments to these two areas.
“Missouri’s common sense strategy that balances the need for thoughtful and protective environmental regulations with the goal of a healthy and thriving economy demonstrates that the Show-Me state can and will achieve both objectives,” said Governor Mike Parson. “This successful approach helps us achieve wins that benefit all Missourians.”
“We are committed to achieving and maintaining compliance with federal outdoor air quality standards that help protect Missourians and our environment,” said Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “EPA’s action is a welcome federal acknowledgement of our collective work to significantly improve air quality in these regions of our state.”