Bob Downing

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public clean-air hearing June 6 in Stark County.

The hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Sandy Valley Branch of the Stark County District Library, 9754 Cleveland Ave. SE, Pike Township near Magnolia.

The hearing concerns a state proposal to ask the U.S. EPA to recognize that the Canton-Massillon area meets two federal standards for particulates, or soot.

The area now meets the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour fine particulate standards, based on air data from 2009-11, the Ohio EPA says.

In seeking redesignation, Ohio must demonstrate that the Canton-Massillon area will be able to maintain compliance for 10 years.

Reduced emissions from coal-burning power plants, new controls on diesel-powered vehicles and enforcement actions have lowered soot levels.

Soot can become lodged deep in the lungs and is a major health threat. It is associated with heart attacks, chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, and missed school and work.

The EPA will accept comment about the proposal through the close of business June 6 or by mail to Erica Fetty, Division of Air Pollution Control, Ohio EPA, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049, or erica.fetty@epa.state.oh.us.

The annual standard proposal and the 24-hour standard proposal are available online at www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/SIP/annual.aspx and www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/SIP/2006.aspx or by calling the Ohio EPA’s Division of Air Pollution Control at 614-644-2270.

The Akron-Cleveland area is also being redesignated for compliance with the 24-hour federal fine soot standard, based on particulate readings from 2008-10.

That would affect Summit, Portage, Medina, Cuyahoga, Lake and Lorain counties.

The six-county region still fails the federal annual soot limit.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.