News Releases

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Isakson Urges EPA to Reject Proposal to Adopt More Stringent Air Quality Standards
Wa lker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject a proposal to revise and tighten air quality standards, citing the potential negative economic impact on Georgia communities that are working to meet the current standards.

EPA faces a court-ordered deadline of September to update its air quality standards for microscopic soot pollution, and one option the agency is considering would make the standard stricter. Meanwhile, hundreds of counties across the country - including several in Georgia - have been working to meet a 2010 deadline to comply with the current air quality standards.

"EPA has unilaterally chosen to 'move the goalposts' on states and communities that are diligently working towards implementation plans for current clean air standards," Isakson said during a Senate subcommittee hearing. "Non-attainment of federal air quality standards seriously impacts an area's ability to attract and retain jobs. The impact it has on the tax base causes negative repercussions on schools, emergency services, and the community."   

Isakson, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also reiterated his support for the Clear Skies Act, which has been stalled in the Committee for over a year. Isakson believes the legislation, which is designed to curb air pollution, would be an improvement over the current law. 

"Currently, 60 percent of Georgia's citizens live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards," Isakson said. "Air quality is a significant issue in our state, and the Clear Skies legislation would be a meaningful positive step for many of us in the South to address what has clearly been a problem."

Isakson also introduced Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, who testified at the hearing.