Cal/EPA NEWS RELEASE

MARCH 5, 1998

CONTACT: JOE IRVIN
(916) 322-2990

Cal/EPA Response to USEPA's Concurrence on Ten California Cities in Attainment for Carbon Monoxide: 'It's About Time'

(SACRAMENTO) California Secretary for Environmental Protection Peter M. Rooney today said that it's about time that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially concurred with the state's recommendation to redesignate all of the ten California urban areas submitted by the state as having met the public health standard for carbon monoxide.

"We are glad to hear that USEPA, after more than a year and a half, has discovered that indeed California has made dramatic progress to reduce levels of carbon monoxide in these areas to the point of meeting public health standards," said Rooney.

In 1995, ten of the 11 areas with histories of unhealthy CO levels attained compliance with the federal air quality standard for CO. In July 1996, Cal/EPA's Air Resources Board submitted a request to USEPA to redesignate these areas to attainment.

Rooney credited recent California-driven emissions reductions rules for fuels and vehicles for the improvement. "Introducing wintertime gasoline in November 1992 and the state's ongoing requirements for less polluting vehicles has provided the impetus to bring most areas of the state into attainment with CO," said Rooney.

The use of this gasoline mandated by the ARB in the winter of 1992-93 cut wintertime carbon monoxide levels by an additional ten percent in urban areas across the state in early 1993. A review at that time of ten monitoring sites from Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valleys to the Bay Area and southern California revealed an actual drop of about 33 percent below normal during the peak winter months.

"Even though areas of southern California still present CO challenges, we are making steady progress towards our goal to reach full attainment throughout the state by the turn of the century," said Rooney.

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