EDITORIAL: EPA takes step in right
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
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
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.