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Illinois outdoor air quality progress continues     Send a link to a friend

2003 IEPA Annual Air Quality Report released

[SEPT. 17, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Renee Cipriano announced that Illinois residents are enjoying healthy outdoor air quality 94 percent of the time.

The Illinois EPA 2003 Annual Air Quality Report, released Sept. 8, showed that outdoor air conditions across the state were good or moderate 94 percent of the time last year.

The data in the report also shows that none of the air quality monitors in Illinois in 2003 recorded levels of ozone above the federal one-hour health standard. In addition, the St. Louis Metro Area was redesignated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003 as officially meeting the one-hour standard.

"We are committed to providing a clean and healthy environment to Illinois residents, and the 2003 report shows continued progress in cleaning our air," said Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"This improvement is the result of years of hard work by regulators, businesses and individual citizens who have committed themselves to improving the state's environment," added Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.

The 2003 Air Quality Report provides a comprehensive description of air quality in Illinois. The data was gathered from more than 80 different sites, using more than 200 monitoring instruments. The Illinois EPA monitors for numerous pollutants, including federal criteria pollutants -- ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead. Additionally, the state monitors for air toxins and other metals in our environment.


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Illinois credits the improved air quality to a number of regulatory changes that have been enacted in the past decade and to the leadership of Gov. Blagojevich. The Illinois EPA has created a variety of proactive voluntary programs, resulting in significant reductions in air pollutants. Those programs include the Illinois Green Fleets program, the Illinois Clean School Bus program and the Green Pays on Green Days program, which is co-sponsored by the Illinois EPA and Partners for Clean Air.

"We are proud of our achievements in air quality and are ready to meet the new challenges posed by more stringent federal air quality standards for ozone and fine particles," said Cipriano.

Illinois officials expect to meet the federal one-hour standard for ozone in the Chicago Metro Area following the 2005 ozone season. Additionally, work will continue to bring the state in compliance with the federal 8-hour and fine particulate matter standards.

The 2003 Annual Air Quality Report is available on the Illinois EPA website at  Printed copies may be requested from the Illinois EPA's Bureau of Air at (217) 782-9315.

[Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
news release]

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