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Community speaks out on Wilmington air quality

READ MORE: Community speaks out on Wilmington air quality

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources held a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss air quality in the Cape Fear. Since federal air quality standards were changed last June, parts of the region do not meet the new requirements.

Wilmington in particular does not currently meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's sulfur dioxide standard. The state must submit recommendations on how to control the problem by June 2 and they say they wanted to hear from the public.

Laura Parks says she came to the meeting because she thinks the high SO2 levels in the area are a very serious issue.

“It affects every aspect of our life,” Parks said. “Not just our health and well-being. Not just our quality of life. It also affects our economy."

Parks says she is just a mom who is worried about the world her family is living in.

“I'm concerned about the impact of the air that we breathe on the quality of life and our health for myself, my family, my fellow neighbors, and citizens here in New Hanover County,” Parks said.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources is considering many options for the non-attainment area. They say they decided to hold a public meeting to hear the community's opinion.

“We're here tonight to get their feedback,” Division of Air Quality Deputy Director Mike Abraczinskas said. “Get the community's feedback on a number of options as to how extensive the non-attainment area recommendation from the state of North Carolina to the government should be."

Boundary recommendations could affect industries that are within the set outline by putting stricter SO2 regulations into place. Parks says she hopes elected officials will keep their priorities in order when considering non-attainment.

“What I hope is that our officials here in New Hanover County and at the state level will remember that we the citizens, we the people, are front line, first in line, for consideration of protection, of our health and well-being and our safety,” Parks said. “Not corporations, not corporate profits, and not their shareholders. We the citizenry. Our protection. Our health and safety.”

To view the entire presentation from Tuesday’s meeting, click here:

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