- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - City officials are taking aim at improving air quality in the Lake Charles area.

The American Press reported (https://bit.ly/1eOXZNb) the City Council has approved an ordinance allowing the purchase of alternative-fuel mowers for use by the recreation and parks department.

The deal comes as Calcasieu and Cameron parishes are close to failing to meet air quality standards set by federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Failure to meet air-quality standards is called nonattainment. As of July, Lake Charles was close to nonattainment.

The council began discussions in July on the mower issue, leading to the decision to purchase alternatively-fueled mowers.

At a council meeting in August, Mayor Randy Roach illustrated the problem by citing studies showing one hour of mowing is equal, in terms of ozone emissions, to driving an automobile 200 miles.

“These are primary sources of some of the problems that we have in the area and this is one way that we can address that issue,” Roach said. “We can’t afford the buses and some of the other things people would like to see us do, but this is one thing we can do.”

The expected industrial expansion headed to the region has focused more attention on ways to improve air quality.

“With all of this new development that’s coming, if we would fall into nonattainment, that would be devastating to our community,” said council President Stuart Weatherford.

“I think that even if it’s marginally saving or marginally spending more, if at the end of the day it’s proven that it doesn’t save money, then it’s still probably worth saving on the emissions,” he said.

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Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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