After a 28 year battle, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled last month that Jefferson and Shelby counties are meeting the health and environmental standards for ozone air pollution. Ozone causes lung damage and asthma attacks, and has been linked to premature deaths.
The "attainment" status was achieved as a result of a successful community wide collaborative effort that ranged from volunteer community programs to stricter environmental regulations and significant investments in pollution reduction/prevention technology at area power plants. Now that the area meets the ozone standard, local governments, environmental and health groups and businesses are now turning their focus on bringing the area into compliance of the federal "fine particles" standard.
For more information about air pollution and what you can do to continue helping the region make progress on clean air, visit the Alabama Partners for Clean Air website.