10/17/12 Tuesday, Congressman Joe Donnelly joined other members of the Indiana congressional delegation in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting that the agency re-designate central Indiana’s status to indicate that the area meets all National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) criteria.  Currently, the EPA designates central Indiana as an area that does not meet these standards based on measurements taken in 2005. Improved air quality in central Indiana prompted the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to submit an application to the EPA in 2009 to have these counties re-designated. The EPA chose not to act upon the 2009 application, and required the state to submit another request in May 2011.

“My colleagues and I are hopeful that the EPA will rethink its refusal to acknowledge that central Indiana now meets all air quality measurements required for re-designation under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” said Donnelly. “Many Hoosiers are looking for work, and the economic growth of the area is being negatively affected by this incorrect designation. Central Indiana should not be burdened by a label that it does not deserve.”


The full text of the letter sent by members of the Indiana delegation to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson is below.


October 16, 2012

The Honorable Lisa P. Jackson


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson:

We write to express concern that the EPA has not moved forward to issue the final PM 2.5 attainment designation for Marion County and the surrounding counties located in Central Indiana.  These counties currently meet the attainment designation criteria for Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) as required by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.  As such, they are entitled to re-designation as attainment under the Clean Air Act.  We call on the EPA to move forward with re-designation without delay, as the improper designation constrains economic development in the Marion County area.

On April 5, 2005, the EPA designated Marion and the surrounding counties as nonattainment for the annual PM 2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard.  But by the end of 2008, all air quality measurements in these counties fully met the annual PM 2.5 standard as determined by air monitors.  Subsequently, in October 2009, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management filed its application with the EPA to re-designate the area as attainment for all pollutants.  The EPA chose not to act upon Indiana’s October 2009 submittal, however.  Instead, Indiana was required to go through another public consultation process and file another request for designation to attainment in May 2011.

The EPA had pointed to the expected court decision at the U.S. Circuit Court for the D.C. Circuit regarding the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule as reason for delaying action on re-designating the Marion County area.  The court has since handed down its decision.  Indeed, it vacated the Cross-State Rule.  Thus, the uncertainty has vanished, as a new rule will require years to promulgate and implement.  There is no longer any reason to delay re-designation.

At this time of economic uncertainty, Central Indiana remains disadvantaged due to the EPA’s reluctance to fulfill its duties.  The EPA should move forward right away on the final PM 2.5 designation for Marion and the surrounding counties. These areas continue to meet the attainment criteria for Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) as required by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.


Senator Dan Coats

Senator Richard Lugar

Congressman Dan Burton

Congressman Mike Pence

Congressman Joe Donnelly

Congressman André Carson

Congressman Larry Bucshon

Congressman Todd Rokita

Congressman Todd Young

Congressman Marlin Stutzman