Berry & Lincoln Send Angry Letter to EPA over Crittenden County

APRIL 26, 2004 - Posted at 5:17 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Both of Arkansas' senators and a congressman sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today accusing it of holding Crittenden County to unfair air quality standards.

Representative Marion Berry says he suspects politics was at play when the EPA cited Crittenden County.  The citation says the county failed to comply with new ozone standards because of pollution in nearby Memphis, but didn't bestow the same black mark on neighboring counties in Mississippi and Tennessee.

In the letter, Berry, joined by Democratic Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, questions EPA administrator Mike Leavitt directly, accusing the agency of playing favorites.

Crittenden County is the only Arkansas section in the Memphis metropolitan area.  The only counties identified by the EPA are Crittenden and Shelby County, Tennessee, which contains Memphis.  Other bordering counties, like DeSoto, Mississippi, and Tipton Counties in Tennessee, were left off the list.

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