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Clean Air Standard

The health-based 1-hour air quality standard for ground-level ozone under the Clean Air Act had a deadline of November 15, 1996. Several areas failed to meet the deadline and EPA reclassified or is in the process of reclassifying their status to serious non-attainment areas. These areas include Dallas/Fort Worth; St. Louis; Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas; Manitowoc County, Wis.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Maricopa County.

The 1996 volatile organic compounds (VOC) inventory of the Valley found that 31.29 percent of pollution is caused by on-road mobile sources, 29.24 percent is caused by off-road mobile sources, 18.42 percent is caused by stationary area sources, 16.67 percent is caused by biogenic sources, or vegetation-primarily trees-and 4.39 percent is caused by point sources, such as major industry.

When the area was reclassified, EPA found that automobiles and trucks make up 50 percent of the total VOC inventory; 25 percent is from small businesses and consumer products; things as diverse as inks, paints, hair spray, windshield wiper fluid, insect spray, industrial coatings and cleaning solvents; 15 percent is from non-road engines such as aircraft, lawnmowers, fork lifts and portable generators; and 10 percent is from specific point sources.

On-road mobile sources of pollution have been a concern for years, especially in the Valley of the Sun, but other parts of the United States are also suffering from increased pollution because of motor vehicles. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, is working towards cleaning the air and receiving support from auto manufacturers. Automakers are introducing vehicles that are expected to help our nation achieve cleaner air.

In 1997, Arizona began selling clean burning gasoline (CBG) in Phoenix. The use of CBG reduces emissions of carbon monoxide from vehicles and gasoline-powered equipment by approximately 10 percent. EPA, automobile manufacturers and gasoline suppliers have conducted research on CBG since the late 1980s and found that it is formulated to provide the same vehicle performance as gasoline but contains slightly less energy.

Technological and economical issues pose the biggest challenges, but realize that we are not fighting the battle for clean air alone. Everyone is in the front seat for finding solutions to reduce air pollution in the future.