Upton hails EPA ‘bump down’

Published 2:02 am Friday, September 17, 2004

By Staff
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, hailed Thursday's announcement in Cassopolis by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Cass County's clean air designation has been "bumped down" from "moderate" non-attainment to "marginal."
Although Cass County is a rural community, it was slapped with a moderate classification and subjected to harsh penalties due to dirty air blowing across Lake Michigan.
Upton had urged Gov. Jennifer Granholm to request that EPA reconsider its clean air designation for Cass County since Cass fell within the 5-percent threshold of the lower "basic" designation.
In July, Upton facilitated a meeting between Cass County officials and the EPA Regional Coordinator for Air Quality to discuss the EPA's designation of Cass County as a "moderate" non-attainment area under the eight-hour ozone standard and its potential impact upon continued economic growth and development.
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator has the authority to change an area from moderate to marginal if the area's design value is within 5 percent of the lower classification. The EPA said it would consider a "bump down" request from the State of Michigan for Cass County and similarly affected Michigan counties. Upton immediately contacted Governor Jennifer Granholm in mid July and urged her to request for the reclassification.
Both Muskegon and Cass counties meet the 5 percent criterion, as well as other parts of EPA guidance, and will have their reclassification requests approved.