CHICAGO | The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is responding to Indiana's lawsuit against the agency seeking to remove Lake and Porter counties from the Chicago regional ozone monitoring network.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller on Thursday announced the suit during a news conference at Merrillville Town Hall, saying it is unfair of the EPA to declare Lake and Porter counties — which comply with the regulation — as not meeting federal standards for ozone based on data from a noncompliant monitor in Zion, Ill.
The U.S. EPA Region 5 offices in Chicago, in a statement issued Friday morning, said ozone is a problem throughout the Chicago metropolitan region, including in Lake and Porter counties.
"Data submitted to EPA by the State of Illinois demonstrates that Lake and Porter Counties in Indiana contribute to harmful ozone levels in Lake County, Illinois," the statement reads. "EPA is reviewing the legal action filed (Thursday) by Indiana’s Attorney General objecting to the nonattainment designation for Lake and Porter Counties."
The counties included in the nonattainment area are Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will and portions of Kendall and Grundy in Illinois; Lake and Porter in Indiana and a portion of Kenosha in Wisconsin.
The EPA in its statement cited the high number of air quality action days in the region because of high ozone levels this summer, "including 16 air quality action days designated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, based on high ozone levels in northwest Indiana."