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Monday, July 11, 2005

Mid-Summer Smog Report

For Immediate Release Contact: Frank O’Donnell (202-558-3527 or
202-302-2065)


MID-SUMMER SMOG REPORT: 38 STATES WITH PROBLEMS;
JUNE VIOLATIONS TRIPLE THOSE OF A YEAR AGO


(Washington, DC. July 11, 2005) – The non-profit Clean Air Watch today warned that at least 38 states have experienced serious smog problems already this summer.

In June alone, there were nearly triple the monitored violations of the national health standard for smog compared to a year ago, based on an unofficial survey by Clean Air Watch volunteers.

“This is a gasping reminder that smog remains a widespread and persistent public health problem,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. “We cannot afford to cut new breaks for polluters if we are going to meet our public health standards.”

O’Donnell cautioned that a threat looming in Congress could undermine progress towards achieving health goals. House and Senate negotiators may meet as soon as this week to hash out final energy legislation. The House version includes a provision, championed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX), which could postpone achievement of smog standards in many parts of the nation.

O’Donnell said the smog statistics underscore that EPA’s recent “clean air interstate rule” – although a step in the right direction – will not be good enough to meet public health standards everywhere.

“State authorities will need to keep the right to take action against pollution blowing in from other states,” O’Donnell said.

The survey of public web sites found monitored readings of dirty air in states from California to Maine. In June alone, there were 941 violations of the smog standard, compared to 329 in June 2004.

Dirty air haunted such popular vacation spots such as Cape Cod, Acadia National Park, the Adirondacks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Zion National Park.

O’Donnell said the severity of the issue was underscored by recent studies which showed that smog can kill. Three independent research reviews - commissioned by EPA and published in the July issue of Epidemiology – all linked daily levels of smog to an increased risk of death.

Details of the survey and a scholarly commentary on the new health studies are available at the Clean Air Watch Blog for Clean Air at http://www.blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/. The unofficial monitor-by-monitor readings are available from Clean Air Watch.