DeSoto Co, cities, state clean-air campaign

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) — Clean air is not an abstract issue — it’s one that affects thousands of people, says Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson.

That’s why he’ll be at Monday’s public meeting to discuss the subject with officials from other cities, DeSoto County and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, he told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/14ilC9t ).

“We’re talking literally about the air we all breathe, and unclean air impacts people with asthma and other health problems, thousands of people,” Johnson said.

The meeting is meant to clear the way for countywide panels involving the cities and citizens to promote clean-air policies and awareness. It will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Hernando.

A major aim is to show the area’s commitment before the Environmental Protection Agency reviews ozone levels in 2015.

Last year, the agency found that northern parts of DeSoto County failed to meet Clean Air Act standards.

County and MDEQ officials have challenged that decision.

“This is an opportunity for the whole community to come together, and not just to show the EPA what we’re doing, but to clear the air so everyone can breathe easier,” Johnson said.

Two committees are likely, officials say. One, appointed by supervisors and city officials, would oversee the revival and actions of the county’s Ozone Action Committee. The action committee would be open to anyone, County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard said.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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