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Air Pollution Improvements Can Be Easily Undone, Report Says

21 April 2017
Air Pollution Improvements Can Be Easily Undone, Report Says

Ozone pollution remained relatively high in CT between 2013 and 2015, according to the American Lung Association, which for the second year in a row assigned a failing grade to seven of eight Nutmeg State counties.

According to Lake County Aire Pollution Control Officer Douglas Gearhart, strong local support for clean air measures has enabled the county to comply in full with not only the Federal Clean Air Standards, but also with the more rigorous California Standards for ozone and other air pollutants for the past 26 consecutive years.

Even worse, California has eight cities with the worst year-round particle pollution.

Twelve of those counties, including Charleston, had no unhealthy days for ozone pollution during that time period. From 2013 to 2015, Luzerne County had 0.7 days per year with unhealthy, elevated levels of ozone. Particle pollution is highest in winter when households are burning wood and diesel exhaust collects in still air, she said.

Ozone can be harmful to people with respiratory problems and other vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly. It's first (or last) in short-term particle pollution, and second in both year-round particle pollution and ozone pollution.

Californias most populous metro area, Los Angeles, continues to improve, posting its lowest number of unhealthy days for ozone pollution and lowest levels of year-round particle pollution.

More than 1.3 million MA residents remain at risk from health effects caused by unhealthy air.

"The Clean Air Act - and the various regulations that have been the result of the Clean Air Act - have done a tremendous amount of good in terms of cleaning up our air quality and, as a result, making our public health better", Mullally said.

Salinas was recognized as one of the cleanest cities in the US. And Lincoln and Beatrice are ranked as two of the cleanest USA cities for ozone air pollution.

The 10 worst cities for short-term particle air pollution were Bakersfield, Calif., Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif., Fresno-Madera, Calif., Modesto-Merced, Calif., Fairbanks, Ala., San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah, Logan, Utah-Idaho, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif. and Reno-Carson City-Fernley, Nev.

Alongside ozone, particle pollution is one of the most widespread air pollutants.

The EPA determines if a county violates an air pollution standard based on the four days in a year with the highest pollution.

"We moved from a pass-fail grade in their report but the change in air quality was not that significant", Allen said. "The nation must continue to reduce emissions that worsen climate". "Even with the drought and wildfires of recent years, we still enjoy the Lake County clean air".

In Trump's budget proposal, the agency's budget will be cut by 31% that would include weakening or eliminating the Clean Air Act, which, according to the report, it has been the most important tool in the fight for healthy air by driving emission reductions for more than 47 years.