September 9, 2014
MADISON - Wisconsin's air quality is cleaner than it has been in decades and no county in the state violated the most recent federal air standards for fine particles, confirmed officials with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The federal agency recently reviewed available air monitoring data from all 50 states for fine particles, called PM 2.5, and found 14 areas in six states that did not meet the most recent standard, set in 2012. Wisconsin, however, was not among the six states.
"This is great news for our citizens and an incentive for our growing economy," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Wisconsin has demonstrated it can control emissions and has successfully met all the particulate matter standards EPA has proposed - in 1997, 2006 and now the 2012 federal standard. Each subsequent standard has been more stringent and better protective of public health."
In November 2013, Gov. Scott Walker recommended to EPA that all Wisconsin counties should be designated as meeting the air quality standard. The federal agency reviewed the information supplied by the state and confirmed the governor's recommendation.
The EPA will seek public comment on the proposed designations before announcing final designations in December of this year.
Bart Sponseller, DNR air management program director, said the proposed designation means "that all our monitors measured compliance for a three year period, and in Wisconsin counties where there are no monitors, EPA finds the counties likely to be meeting the standards."
To view air quality in your county, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keywords "air quality" and click on the button for "view current air quality" for real-time data.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Cosh, DNR, 608-267-2773