Ozone violations could punish your pocketbook

Wednesday, August 10th 2005, 2:57 pm
By: News On 6

Wednesday was another Ozone Alert day in Green Country.

There is no Alert for Thursday.

More people are wondering could they afford to live in Tulsa if the city made the EPA's Dirty Air List? News on 6 reporter Omar Villafranca says people can plan for the future, by preparing now.

There are five monitors in the Tulsa area that measure Green Country's air quality. And so far this year, we've had 10 Ozone Alert days. Commuters can do several things to take it easy on the air, but there are not any penalties or fines for not helping the cause.

INCOG’S Air Quality Manager, Nancy Graham says, "Is it something that you can do? Do you have a child sleeping in the back? Do you have to get to work? Are you a mowing company where it's a bread and butter issue for your employees? We're still a voluntary program. If you can't, you can't.

"It's not necessarily an awful thing if you can't. But if you can and you're just choosing not to, then I would ask you to think twice."

On ozone alert days, like today, INCOG urges people to take the bus or car pool to work. Nancy Graham says it's a moral issue now, but in the future, it could become a money issue.

Nancy Graham: “One of the potential things we would have would be auto emission tests on our vehicles. If our cars polluted beyond a certain amount, it could potentially be a requirement to get those cars cleaned up and we'd have to put $400-$500 into our vehicles."

Graham says fines might be the only way people take Ozone Alert Days seriously. But she says we can avoid them in the future... by hopping on a bus on the next Ozone Alert Day.

An amendment to the Federal Clean Air Act.. dealing with Ozone standards.. was introduced in 1997. It became federal law last year.

Oklahoma adopted the law this year. In that time, Oklahoma managed to control the dirty air... and has been a clean air state since 1990.