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Sunday, February 7, 2010 - 6:25pm

Public Comment on SO2 Emissions Closes

Monday is the last day for public comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to tighten restrictions on sulfur dioxide--- a pollutant that can aggravate asthma.

Some major polluters of SO2 include paper mills, coal fired power plants and large ships.

Currently, Georgia is in compliance with SO2 limits, which are 140 parts per billion per day.

The EPA is considering setting an hourly limit of 50 to 100 parts per billion.

If it goes with the bottom end, says Jim Kelley with the state's Environmental Protection Division, many areas of the state could be affected, including Savannah.

"[The] problem with Savannah is it's a harbor area. You get a lot of international shipping that burns bunker fuel and residual oil which is very high sulfur content. So Savannah has some elevated levels of sulfur."

Kelley says Rome and Atlanta are also on the EPD’s radar for SO2.

Health advocates say the revision is needed to help people with respiratory problems.

The federal standard hasn’t been revised since 1971.

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