Berry Says Politics May Be Involved in Crittenden County Pollution Regulation

APRIL 23, 2004 - Posted at 3:55 p.m. CDT

STUTTGART, AR - Representative Marion Berry says he fears air-pollution regulations that could hurt Arkansas may have become embroiled in politics.

Crittenden County officials say the area's economic future is threatened by a poor air-quality rating, and an Environmental Protection Agency expert says the agency has no process to change the ranking before it goes into effect in two months.

Crittenden County is lumped in with Memphis as an area designated by federal regulators as having too much ozone.  Crittenden County officials say the rule is unfair, saying it hurts the area's chance of attracting an auto plant.

Under the federal ruling, new industries would have to meet more strict emission-control standards.  Businesses now up and running are not directly affected.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)