Missoula’s air quality is showing signs of approval and may get a breath of fresh air from the EPA . Montana Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Kristi Ponozzo says they are officially requesting that Missoula not be considered a “non-attainment area”

"DEQ [Department of Environment Quality] is formally requesting the EPA to re-designate Missoula, because Missoula is in compliance with clean air standards," said. "This is specifically for PM-10 which is particulate matter with the diameter of ten micro meters or less."

The type of particulate is usually associated with wood burning and street maintenance work, Missoula was designated as a non-attainment area in the late nineties and a new designation may ease restrictions on businesses like Roseburg Forest Products

"If the EPA, once the EPA, approves re-designation Roseburg and some smaller regulated sources, they will no longer be held to these sort of different standards," said. "They instead will have to demonstrate that  changes to their operations don't  cause or contribute to a violation of the ambient standards."

 

Ponozzo says there is no firm timeline for EPA approval, but expects a decision in the next few months.