This is not to be taken lightly, said Jimmy Johnston with Georgia Environmental Protection Division. We need to do good job to come up with a plan to protect this area.
Johnston and other area environmental specialists addressed a crowd of about 15 Thursday night at a public hear-ing at the Walker County Civic Center. About half of those attending were elected officials or government employ-ees.
The EPD had several display tables out for the public to view and literature to take. EPD officials then went through presentations of what the problem is in the area and what the plans are to do about it.
One of the reasons the EPD held the meeting was because Walker and Catoosa counties did not meet federal air-quality guidelines by April. They were then classified as non-attainment.
The perception when an area is in non-attainment, there is a stigma attached that it hinders economic growth, Johnston said. The county can still bring in business and grow.
County commissioners, state and federal representatives cried foul when the counties were put under tighter re-strictions for having bad air. They felt the data used was erroneous.
Were in this and we need to move on, Johnston said.
The counties must submit a plan to the federal Environmental Protection Agency on how they will achieve clean air standards by 2010. The plan must be finished in two years.
The EPD looks at two different areas of air pollution: ozone and particulate matter.
Ozone can damage trees or oxidize things prematurely such as rubber. Particulate matter, or smog, can burn a persons lungs over an extended amount of time.
CLICK HERE: Express your opinion. Send a letter to the editor.
CLICK HERE: Get all the local news and sports with a subscription to the Walker County Messenger