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10-Year Action Plan Adopted to Improve Air Quality

Action Plan Adopted to Improve Air Quality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 11, 2015

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Gwen Schuler, Media and Communications, gschuler@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5160

Stacy Ellifritt, Media and Communications, stacy.ellifritt@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2005

 

10-Year Action Plan Adopted to Improve Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency has adopted a 10-year action plan to improve air quality and reduce unhealthy wood smoke pollution in the Tacoma/Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone area. In accepting this plan, the agency is redesignating Tacoma as an attainment area for federal air quality standards.In 2009, the agency declared the Smoke Reduction Zone as a nonattainment area for air quality primarily due to smoke from wood burning stoves.  Smoke from older wood stoves contains large amounts of very small particles that can cause health related issues. 

In 2011 a Clean Air Task Force was formed, made up of broad community representation, to recommend strategies for reducing particulates in the atmosphere and to restore Tacoma as an attainment area. This task force developed four recommendations:

  • Provide incentives to replace uncertified wood stoves
  • Increase compliance with burn bans
  • Ban uncertified wood stoves starting September 30, 2015
  • Initiate a robust public education campaign


The City played a key role in working with the task force to develop the recommendations and apply these strategies, by providing boots on the ground to enhance and increase compliance with burn bans, and educate residents about programs to help them heat their homes more cleanly and efficiently

“It is exciting to see the community’s hard work and commitment to clean air pay off,”said City Council Member and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Board Member Ryan Mello. “While we all still have work to do to reach our health goals, it is encouraging that Tacoma is reclaiming its status as a federal attainment zone with healthier air quality.”

The agency’s adoption of the 10-year plan and redesignation of Tacoma as an attainment zone are early steps in a long process to eliminate non-certified wood stoves and increase compliance with burn bans, but with community support of these actions Tacoma will breathe a little easier.

“EPA’s adoption of the 10-year plan is an important milestone,” said City of Tacoma Sustainability Manager Kristi Lynett. “This plan is the result of a tremendous amount of work that will need long-term commitment to meet our ultimate goal of clean air for our community.”

 

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