meet to discuss environment
Grand Valley Lanthorn
The EPA was represented to discuss air quality with several
Holland played host to meeting between state and local
elected officials and representatives of the United States
Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality on Oct. 20.
The meeting was held so that the representatives of both
organizations could discuss with the government officials
the potential impact of the EPA’s new air-quality control
on ozone emissions on West Michigan. Rep. Peter Hoekstra,
(R-Holland) and Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, (R-Grand Rapids)
were both present at the meeting.
" I thought the tone of the meeting was very good,"
Ehlers said. "The people at the EPA seem to now totally
understand the phenomena of transport pollution. They
listened well and had a lot of good comments and the audience
was also quite knowledgeable about the issue. I thought
it was a helpful meeting."
The air quality issue has long been a sour point with
West Michigan. The EPA has wanted to impose restrictions
on the ozone quantity given off by West Michigan cities.
This means that people living in the area could be restricted
to how they do basic tasks such as mow their lawn.
" This rule could potentially impair economic growth
in West Michigan," Hoekstra said. "If handled
appropriately, the EPA has an opportunity to improve air
quality in West Michigan, but lakeshore counties also
stand in danger of being held responsible for emissions
transported from industrial area on the opposite side
of the lake."
Everyone involved, however, seems to support clean air,
but not punishing the people receiving emissions from
someone else, a concept known as transport pollution.
The EPA has admitted that their highest ozone readings
are coming from a monitor in Allegan County, right on
" In my role as a scientist, I asked some very pointed
questions about the scientific background for the actions
they are recommending," Ehlers said. "By and
large, I think they understand the science quite well
- much better than they have in the past. It was interesting
to learn that the EPA’s most sophisticated computer models
are used to deal with the Chicago region and the Lake
Michigan lake effect on the atmosphere."
The EPA has not been able to acknowledge the concept of
transport pollution in their rules and regulations. In
an upcoming bill, representatives hope to give the EPA
more authority over those aspects, and give them the power
to deal with transport pollution.