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EDITORIAL: EPA takes step in right direction
Grand Haven Tribune
Published November 30, 2006

The Environmental Protection Agency has taken a step in the right direction with its announcement that Ottawa and 10 other Michigan counties now meet the requirements of the national Clean Air Act.

There is no question that improving the air we breathe is critical, but it was unfair to add Ottawa County to the list of non-attainment counties in 1991.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, and other Michigan officials, have argued for years that much of the poor air found in West Michigan is transported from the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.

We applaud the efforts of Hoekstra and other officials in convincing the EPA that West Michigan is meeting clean air standards.

The new designation is an important one for Ottawa County. Michigan officials have concluded that higher air pollution designations have been shown to slow economic growth by placing increased controls on new industrial plants and limits on highway construction can lead to vehicle emission inspections and expensive reformulated gasoline.

In fact, an emissions testing facility was constructed in Spring Lake Township, but the facility was never put into operation. The building was then turned into a township fire station.

Two other counties in West Michigan Allegan and Muskegon are still listed among counties not meeting EPA standards.

Hoekstra said he won't be satisfied until Allegan and Muskegon counties are added to the list of counties meeting air quality standards.

"No local community should be held responsible for air pollution transported across Lake Michigan from Chicago or Milwaukee," Hoekstra said.

We agree.



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