Economic Development Newsroom

Mayor’s Air Toxics Reduction Proposal Protects Citizens’ Health, Improves Louisville’s Air

Thursday September 9, 2004

Mayor Jerry Abramson today outlined a program to require companies to significantly reduce emissions of toxic chemicals into Louisville’s air to better protect citizens’ health and ensure quality of life.

The proposed framework – the Strategic Toxic Air Reduction (STAR) Program – focuses first on reducing the levels of 18 toxic chemicals that have been proven through extensive air monitoring to exceed the federal health risk goal – a 1 in 1 million risk of developing cancer from lifetime exposure.
The companies that are the largest sources of one of the 18 toxic chemicals – such as butadiene and arsenic – must begin reporting information to the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District next year that will determine whether they exceed the health risk goal.
By 2007, those companies must lower their toxic emissions of the 18 chemicals to meet the goal. “This community must take decisive action to further reduce the levels of toxic chemicals in our air – for the health and safety of our citizens,” Abramson said. “So today I’m presenting a framework for a focused, strategic plan that will significantly reduce levels of toxic chemicals in our air beginning next year and prompt sharp reductions over the next five years.”

The need for action is based on an extensive air monitoring study by the West Jefferson County Community Task Force released last year that found 18 toxic chemicals present in Louisville’s air at levels well above the health risk goal.

Additionally, Louisville’s health exposure risk from airborne toxic chemicals is among the highest in the Southeastern United States, according to data reported by companies to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Other details of the STAR Program:

• Establishes the federal health-risk goal – a cancer risk of 1 in 1 million – as a community goal in reducing emissions of toxic chemicals

Requires 173 companies that emit the largest amounts of chemicals to determine if emissions exceed the health risk goal for 38 targeted chemicals – the 18 toxic chemicals already proven to exceed health risk goal and another 20 chemicals that may exceed the standard based on aggregate data supplied to the EPA by local companies

Sets a timetable – based on the companies’ emission levels and the chemicals released – of between 2007 and 2010 for companies to reduce toxic emissions to meet the health risk goal

Requires companies to prove to the APCD Board they are using the best available technology to lower emissions as much as possible if they don’t meet the health risk goal

Uses state-of-the-art air monitoring equipment to ensure modeling accuracy

Adopts and enforces existing state laws that require new and expanded companies to meet the community health risk goal for the 190 most toxic chemicals

A proposed regulation, detailing how the STAR plan will be implemented, will be unveiled next week by APCD Director Art Williams. It will be available for public viewing on APCD’s web site –

A public feedback session will be held during the next three weeks before the regulation is formally submitted to the APCD Board in early October. The APCD Board will also conduct a public hearing as part of its review process.

Abramson said he hopes the Board will put new rules in place by January and begin the STAR program early next year.