Warner addressing air quality

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Staff Report

Considering it a move forward to improve air

quality, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, and Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. joined forces to create the Interstate Air Quality Council (IAQC) Tuesday during a press conference.

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The new Council will provide overall guidance and streamline planning to meet new federal air quality standards for the region, which includes the two states and District of Columbia. The IAQC will work in concert with the air quality and transportation committees of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to improve air quality, according to a statement from Warner’s office.

During three previous regional meetings, the governors and mayor tasked their respective Natural Resources and Transportation Secretaries to review the regional air quality planning process in the National Capital Region to ensure mutual goals of improved air quality and efficient transportation are met. The fourth meeting took place in Washington Tuesday prior to the press briefing.

Maryland will serve as the first chair of the council.

The six secretaries will serve on the IAQC, which will provide overall guidance to the regional planning process and retain final approval authority over state plans to meet the new federal 8-hour ozone standard.

&uot;We have been able to work together to solve real world problems,&uot; said Warner.

&uot;This Council will allow us to address the connected issues of childhood asthma in the District of Columbia, regional air quality, and traffic congestion.&uot;

&uot;Our air is the cleanest it has been in 20 years and we are committed to continuing that trend,&uot; said Ehrlich.

&uot;We have reduced local emissions by 40 percent in the past decade, but our work is not done.

&uot;This council will provide greater responsibility and accountability for meeting our regional air quality goals.

I want to thank Governor Warner and Mayor Williams for their continued commitment to improving air quality in the National Capital Region.&uot;

&uot;At our fourth regional meeting, we found major areas of commonality-the agreement we signed on air quality will go a long way to addressing a significant issue that spans jurisdictions,&uot; said Williams.

&uot;Working together as a region is critical as we seek to improve our shared resources-our air, our water and our public lands.&uot;

Throughout the region, state governments, local governments, and the private sector have worked together on a number of fronts to improve air quality.

Emissions from power plants and other industrial sources have been reduced through more stringent regulations and innovative partnerships.

Emissions from automobiles and trucks have fallen due to cleaner fuels, new technologies, and significant public investments in public transit, ridesharing, pedestrian and demand management programs.

Voluntary programs have also led to cleaner school buses and reduced emissions from household chemicals, according to Warner.