February 03, 2005

Crapo: Idahoans Can Breathe Easier

Applauds Idahoâ??s & Ada County air attainment announcement

Coeur dâ??Alene - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today applauded a federal announcement to certify that all of Idaho has met federal air quality fine-particulate standards. Some regions of the state, including Ada Countyâ??s air quality, have been a concern over the past several years due to carbon monoxide levels. However, state and local officials have worked to reduce carbon monoxide concentrations over the years. The new designation represents a strong benchmark to make continuous improvements in our stateâ??s air quality. Lesser concerns had been raised over air standards near Pocatello and in Kootenai County near Coeur dâ??Alene related to field burning. Non-attainment of air quality standards could have cost the county federal transportation funding if not corrected.Early in his Senate term, Crapo, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), worked closely with members of the Treasure Valley community planning group COMPASS, area mayors and state and local leaders to persuade the Environmental Protection Agency to take note of Ada Countyâ??s efforts to improve air quality when the county was facing non-attainment status. The EPA has sent Governor Kempthorne a letter certifying Idahoâ??s air quality statewide is in compliance with federal clean air guidelines for fine particulate matter. The PM 2.5 Particulate Matter standard refers to â??fineâ?? particulates found in the air such as dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Because they are considered â??fineâ?? particulates they present the greatest danger of being trapped in the lungs of people breathing the air.Crapo noted the new air quality findings are a good base to build on for future improvement. â??It is a relief to know that Idahoâ??s pristine air quality has again been recognized by the federal government,â?? Crapo said. â??I appreciate the agencyâ??s recognition of the Treasure Valleyâ??s efforts to keep our air clean. Being in the valley, we will always face geological conditions that join with population growth to threaten our air quality. The efforts we have made, from air testing to burning bans to mass transit efforts show we are doing our part for clean air, and the federal government has recognized that.â??# # #