Alexander: East TN Counties Earn Clean Air Attainment Status, Means “More Good Jobs, Healthier Air and Better Views of the Great Smoky Mountains”

Posted on August 30, 2017

Says decision by EPA also means all 95 Tennessee counties are in attainment for particulate matter 

NASHVILLE, August 30, 2017 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to designate Anderson, Knox, Blount, Loudon and Roane counties as in attainment for particle pollution – also known as particulate matter or PM2.5 – shows the air is cleaner for those of us who live there and will help grow East Tennessee’s economy. It also means the entire state of Tennessee is now in compliance with federal air quality health standards for particle pollution.

“This decision means more good jobs and healthier air for East Tennesseans as well as better views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Receiving federal attainment for particle pollution further shows that the air is demonstrably cleaner in Anderson, Knox, Blount, Loudon and Roane counties, and will attract more industries to East Tennessee,” Alexander said. “It also means all 95 of Tennessee’s counties are now in attainment for particle pollution. This cleaner air is directly attributable to federal clean air legislation which I voted for, TVA’s decision to put pollution control equipment on all its coal plants and years and of work by state and local leaders and industries in these counties. This designation sends a signal that the air is clean, and Tennessee is open for business.”

Under the federal Clean Air Act, counties must show they’ve met the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to achieve attainment status. Counties that have not attained clean air under federal guidelines must comply with more stringent air emission standards. Higher standards mean companies looking to build new manufacturing plants or expand existing facilities must use more pollution control equipment, which makes it more expensive for companies to locate within nonattainment counties and create jobs.

According to EPA, particle pollution contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. Fine particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) are the main cause of reduced visibility (haze) in parts of the United States. For more information on particle pollution designations, visit https://www.epa.gov/particle-pollution-designations/learn-about-particle-pollution-designations#basis.

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