For years, Jones County has been blamed for ozone emissions into the Atlanta area because of commuter traffic, costing the county millions; but now, there's a big push to get Jones County off that list.
It's a problem that's plagued Jones County for almost a decade, and officials are fed up with their money getting thrown to the wind. That's why Commissioner Tommy Robinson helped form the Atlanta Gas Committee to get the county off the list.
"We do not intend to back down and accept these illogical reasons and excuses for jones county being included in this," Robinson says.
A map of so-called areas of influence drawn by the EPD puts Jones County on a small list of areas around metro Atlanta that emit ozone gases from traffic---but Jones County only accounts for 1% of all commuter traffic. Leaders say their impact on the metro area's air quality is almost nothing. The EPD maintains it all has to do with the way the wind blows, and since most wind patterns prevail from the east and southeast, Jones county is a perfect target for environmental restrictions.
Since 2003 Jones County has been required to use a low sulfur gasoline to reduce their emissions, driving up fuel costs in an already tough economy.
"Most of the individuals that live in Jones County either travel to Baldwin County or to Bibb County for cheapter fuel prices," says Jones County Environmental Officer Tiffany Davis, "and also when they go in the stores their purchases are happening in additional counties and not here--and we're losing a lot of revenue."
"I believe a conservative estimate would be that jones county has lost millions of dollars," Robinson tells 41NBC.