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Past Kennewick dust storms could affect air regulations

The state is asking that the federal government consider severe dust storms in Kennewick two years ago as uncontrollable events that will not effect air quality requirements.
The state is asking that the federal government consider severe dust storms in Kennewick two years ago as uncontrollable events that will not effect air quality requirements.

The state of Washington is asking the federal government not to include three severe dust storms in 2013 when it calculates air quality standards for Kennewick.

High winds swept up dust from farm fields and dirt patches, fouling the air to a level that caused pollution to exceed the national air quality standard.

If federal air quality standards are exceeded more than three times in three years, local and state agencies are required to take steps to reduce air pollution. In addition, requirements for businesses could become stricter and federal transportation funds could be withheld.

The Washington Department of Ecology has developed a report to show the Environmental Protection Agency that the dust storms were uncontrollable events.

Comments may be made on the report through Oct. 5 by emailing AQComments@ecy.wa.gov. The report is posted at 1.usa.gov/1Qbi1nM.

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