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JEFFERSON COUNTY OZONE NON-ATTAINMENT STATUS
Jefferson and the surrounding collar counties of Dane, Rock and Dodge are all dancing on the edge of an 85 ppb, 8 hour, EPA, ozone air quality standard. The possible results of failing the air quality standard, range from mandatory implementation of potentially expensive air quality improvement measures, to outbreaks of death or incapacitation from ozone induced respiratory ailments. This possible ozone non-attainment status is a distressing finding, but not all that surprising considering the choices we have made regarding transportation and commerce.
Some will say that our ozone comes from up wind causes. True, some of it does, however Jefferson County adds its own burden of ozone-precursors to the atmosphere making it worse. Downwind communities receive a double dose. The offending molecules accumulate as the wind moves over industrialized areas until clearly evident effects of ozone pollution occur. The plume continues north and east to an even larger area on Lake Michigan's shoreline and then hundreds of miles into Canada.
Clean up measures of an ozone non-attainment status are:
NOT CLEAN-UP MEASURES
And let's ‘clear the air' about what ozone non-attainment measures will not cause us to do, as these standard kicks in at the 100,000 metropolitan population level.
ANALYSIS & SOLUTION
So whether or not Jefferson County is designated an ozone non-attainment status, we need to realize that our actions have repercussions. We need to become responsible for our actions. In the past it may have worked to ignore the pollution caused by our consumptive lifestyle, but that time is quickly coming to a close. The Earth's carrying capacity is shrinking as we consume the natural capital of the world. The population continues to grow, and the per-capita consumption of resources is rising. There is a breaking point to the ecological resources of the Earth and we are fast approaching it. Just as we must learn to live within a state or local governmental budget (federal exempt), we must also learn to live within an environmental budget.
These are some solutions to this problem:
These examples all promote energy efficiencies, and less reliance on non-renewable, polluting technologies. They tend to internalize costs and not defray them onto the public and the environment. This will allow us to behave in a responsible manner; respecting the environment, promoting economic well being, and behaving in a socially responsible way.
Jefferson County Supervisor, District 3