Air Pollution:

Efforts To Control Ozone in Areas of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin

RCED-88-46BR: Published: Jan 29, 1988. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state efforts to control hydrocarbon emissions in southeastern Wisconsin, northeastern Illinois, and northwestern Indiana, to determine: (1) whether Illinois and Indiana are contributing to Wisconsin's ozone problems; (2) why the two states have not obtained EPA approval of their ozone control plans; (3) why EPA failed to develop plans for the two states; (4) whether the EPA process for determining air quality violations across state lines is useful for ozone; (5) whether EPA uniformly implements construction bans nationwide; and (6) whether factories within the three states emit significant amounts of hydrocarbons.

GAO found that: (1) because of the complexity of ozone formation, EPA officials and the states were unable to determine the exact source of Wisconsin's ozone problems; (2) EPA officials and the states agreed that industrial pollution from Chicago and northwestern Indiana may have contributed to the ozone problems in two Wisconsin counties; (3) Illinois and Indiana disagreed with Wisconsin on the effects of their emissions on Wisconsin's ozone level; and (4) EPA believes that industrial emissions from Wisconsin could also be significantly polluting its air. GAO also found that: (1) EPA did not fully approve the Indiana and Illinois ozone control plans because they failed to implement federal requirements for vehicle inspection and maintenance programs; (2) both states passed legislation implementing the measures to reduce the levels of industrial pollutions affecting the ozone layer; (3) EPA proposed to ban the construction or modification of factories that would produce large amounts of ozone until it fully approved the states' ozone plans; and (4) Congress recently enacted legislation prohibiting EPA from imposing sanctions in ozone and carbon monoxide nonattainment areas until August 1988.

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