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EPA Set To Downgrade Dallas' Air Quality & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is downgrading Dallas' air quality from "moderate" to "serious" after the city failed to meet a 1997 ozone requirement.

The change is being made six months before the agency announces more stringent ozone limits.

The official announcement will be on Wednesday. Dallas has to comply by 2013.

In 1997, the EPA said cities could not surpass an ozone reading of 84 ppb. Dallas was given until June 2010 to comply. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality air division director David Brymer says Dallas' air is 16 percent cleaner than it was in 2000, but at 86 ppb is above the limit.

The new cap, to be announced by July 31, is expected to be between 60-70 ppb.

Comerica buys Sterling

Dallas based Comerica bank is increasing its presence in Texas by buying Sterling Bancshares for just over one billion dollars.

Comerica says the acquisition will allow it to expand its presence in Texas, especially in Houston and San Antonio.

Comerica's 95 banking centers in Texas will now grow to 152 and Comerica will gain $3 billion in loans and $4 billion in deposits.

Both companies' boards have approved the transaction, which is expected to close by midyear. The deal still needs the approval of Sterling shareholders. Sterling is based on Houston.

Court Asked to Enforce Gas Drilling Order

The US Justice Department is asking a federal court to enforce an EPA order against natural gas producer Range Production which is accused of contaminating drinking water in rural Parker County.

Range Production has said it didn't cause the contamination.

The order against Range followed complaints from Parker County residents living near company drill sites. Testing found the residents' well water contaminated with methane and benzene, a known carcinogen.

Range offered to provide alternative water and to install meters to detect explosive levels of methane, but the EPA claims the company did not comply with other demands. The EPA wants Range to provide plans for further testing and clean up of contamination.

The Justice Department is asking the court to enact hefty fines against Range.

Getting Ready For Some Football!

Dallas Police say they're ready for Super Bowl crowds.

Deputy Chief Tom Lawrence briefed City Council members on the Public Safety committee this afternoon.

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Lawrence: I believe our biggest challenge is going to be traffic. And I believe that will probably occur primarily around Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings before the game. We know that almost every corporate entity that's coming here that wants to have a party, every star that's coming here, seems to want that three day block of time to have those events.

Lawrence says Dallas Police are keeping track of nearly 300 scheduled Super Bowl events, from NFL autograph signings to movie star' parties and concerts.