Florida becomes largest clean-air state in the nation; meets all EPA air-quality standards

Courtesy: EPA meeting at Simmons Park, Ruskin, Fla. Photo by EPA

The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday, Oct. 22, that Florida satisfied all six of its air quality standards.

Ruskin, Fla., was the site of the news conference that held the announcement.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs John Truitt said, “This clean air achievement highlights the importance of maintaining strong public and private partnerships to protect Florida’s environment.”

The Hillsborough-Polk County region was the final piece of the puzzle to grant Florida its satisfactory status with the EPA.

Of the six air quality measurements highlighted by the EPA, sulfur-dioxide, a toxic gas and chemical compound released due to the burning of fossil fuels, was the final metric holding the state back from achieving full clean air quality in the state.

“Working in partnership with the state, we have achieved significant improvements in air quality in Hillsborough County. The air quality improvements mean cleaner air, improved health outcomes, and greater economic opportunity for Floridians,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker.

Because of this achievement, Florida became the largest clean-air state in the nation. And is the first of the four large states— California, Florida, New York, and Texas to claim such status. 

The EPA measures air quality in accordance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards chart which looks to achieve clean sustainability for the following pollutants: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particle pollution, and sulfur dioxide. 

Wheeler also announced at the news conference that the agency is planning to ban certain uses of igarol, commonly used in antifouling paint to protect the hull of a boat, to better protect aquatic and coral life off Florida’s coast. 

“Our shared goal is to ensure future generations of Floridians will be able to enjoy our many natural treasures,” said Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis. 

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