On December 18, 1989 the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium was incorporated to provide technical assessments for and assistance to its member states on problems of air quality; and to provide a forum for its member states to discuss air quality issues. Over the past 30 years, LADCO expanded from four members (IL, IN, WI, MI) to six (add OH and MN) and we broadened our technical scope beyond ozone to include particulate matter, mercury, sulfur dioxide, regional haze, and air toxics. During this period, emissions of many primary air pollutants have declined significantly across the region. Anthropogenic emissions of the ground-level ozone precursors, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), each decreased over 60%. Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is both a primary pollutant and a precursor to fine particulates, decreased over 90% . Ambient air pollution concentrations also declined greatly.
In 2019 all of the states in the LADCO region are meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particles (PM2.5), carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Great strides have been made in meeting the lead, ozone, and SO2 NAAQS. While the progress resulted primarily from the hard work of our dedicated colleagues in our member state air programs, LADCO has provided critical technical support on regional air quality modeling, ambient monitoring, and emissions inventories in pursuit of these gains. Further, through our partnerships with U.S. EPA, both at the national and regional levels, we have facilitated communication, knowledge exchange, and training to enable our membership to do their jobs effectively. Finally, as a liaison between our member states and air pollution stakeholders in the Great Lakes region, LADCO helps to create transparency in the processes through which air pollution is studied and controlled.
LADCO has been at the sides of our member states for the past 30 years. While we’ve made great progress, air quality challenges continue in our region and LADCO is continuously adapting and expanding our capabilities to meet current and emerging air pollution issues. I feel confident moving forward because I know that the LADCO team has the skills and experience to meet any new air quality challenges that come our way.