DeSoto County upset over air quality groupings

(WMC-TV) - We all breathe the same air, don't we? The Environmental Protection Agency placed DeSoto County in Memphis' "non-attainment zone" for air quality.

DeSoto County, Shelby County, and Crittenden County, are all grouped into the same category when it comes to air quality.

But DeSoto County says its air is fine and that grouping could hurt businesses interested in relocating to north Mississippi.

"If you're being lumped into a group that doesn't meet air quality standards, in other words, has bad air, we don't want to be lumped into that group," said DeSoto County Administrator Michael Garriga.

County supervisor Mark Gardner says the county's image, particularly when it comes to the environment, is important when trying to lure business.

"We could have a two or 300 job industry that just looks at that on a checklist and doesn't consider us and they go to another area of the country that is in attainment because they don't have to jump through hoops of the EPA," said Gardner.

It is no secret that trucks barrel throughout the Mid-South, but Gardner says there are far more in Memphis and Crittenden County, where I-55 meets I-40.

Even Idle trucks emit fumes while parked at many of the truck stops in West Memphis. That's why DeSoto County wants to be viewed separately and the state of Mississippi is on their side.

That is why they are going to file a request for consideration. But if the process fails, the county is preparing is seeking advice from high-profile environmental attorneys in case of a smog war in court.

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