Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Smog Watch 2007: smog's up in May!

(Washington, DC. June 6, 2007) – The non-profit Clean Air Watch today warned that smog problems around the nation generally have been worse so far this year than last year at this time.

At least 29 states plus the District of Columbia have experienced serious smog problems already this year – an increase from a year ago at this time, when 22 states plus D.C. had monitored dirty air levels.

In May alone, unhealthful smog levels were monitored more than 35 percent more often than in May 2006, based on an unofficial survey by Clean Air Watch volunteers. Last year’s levels may have been lower because rains put a damper on potential problems in the Northeast and much of the Midwest.

“We’ve made great progress over the years in combating smog, but this evidence is a painful reminder that we still need to do more before we can breathe easy,” noted Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.

“We need to tackle such big sources of pollution as existing diesel engines, trains and diesel boats, among other things,” O’Donnell noted.

He also noted that EPA’s independent science advisers and EPA’s own scientists have determined that the current smog standards are not strong enough to protect kids with asthma and others. EPA is under a court order to propose a decision on new smog standards by June 20.

“The scientific evidence is overwhelming that we need tougher smog standards,” O’Donnell said. “We hope the EPA won’t let polluter-generated political pressure smog up its judgment.”

The survey of public web sites found monitored readings of dirty air in states from California to Vermont and Maine. In May alone, air pollution monitors recorded unhealthful levels of smog an estimated 330 times, compared to about 240 the previous May.

More on the survey is available at

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