The EPA proposes to re-designate the five-parish Baton Rouge region as in attainment for the federal ozone standards. Department of Environmental Quality air quality senior scientist, Vivian Aucoin, says the area has worked hard for years to improve air quality in order to lower harmful ozone levels.

The five parish area surrounding the Capitol City meets the 8-hour ozone standard of 0.075 parts per million, and the EPA also plans to approve Louisiana’s plan for maintaining the standard. Aucoin says new standards for industries and automobiles have helped get the level of ozone down.

“Industry has pretty much done everything that they can do and continue to run. Unless new technologies are invented, our industry in the area is about as clean as they are going to get,” Aucoin said.

But Aucoin says the Baton Rouge area may not be in attainment of the federal standard for long. She says the EPA is expected to finalize a lower standard as early next year and it will be difficult for the Capital City region to get below the new requirement because of the natural environment around the area.

“If you shut off everything in the world- every car, every building, every industrial facility- what’s left over is what is natural, and we don’t have any control over that,” Aucoin said.

Aucoin does not expect the EPA to impose any new controls on states because their national plan seems to be helping enough.