37 States with Smog Problems through June
(Washington, DC. July 3, 2008) – As many Americans hit the road for the 4th of July, the non-profit Clean Air Watch today warned that no fewer than 37 states plus the District of Columbia have already experienced unhealthful levels of smog so far this year.
The survey by Clean Air Watch volunteers is the first comprehensive snapshot of air quality in the United States under new ozone standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year.
The survey of public web sites found monitored readings of dirty air in states from coast to coast – from Washington and California to Vermont, Maine and Florida.
“Even though we’ve made progress over the years in reducing smog, this survey is compelling evidence that we still have a widespread and major smog problem,” noted Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. He noted that unhealthful levels of air quality are being recorded even under standards that EPA’s independent science advisers unanimously judged to be inadequate to protect public health.
“So, if anything, this survey understates the true extent of the smog problem,” O’Donnell noted. “These findings show we must continue to reduce emissions that cause smog – including coal-burning electric power plants and existing diesel engines,” O’Donnell noted.
He warned that electric power companies led by Duke Energy have sued to derail a federal plan to reduce emissions from coal-burning electric power plants.
“It could be a disaster for air quality if Duke wins,” O’Donnell said.
He also called on the Bush administration to move forward with proposed standards to clean up lawn mowers and other dirty small engines, and to make sure those standards are strictly enforced to prevent dirty imported engines from China.
Ozone, commonly described as smog, can trigger asthma attacks, send people to hospital emergency rooms and shorten lives. The survey found that 24 states plus the District of Columbia also had air quality worse than the “old” EPA smog standard. The biggest problems generally were recorded in California, where car and factory emissions have been compounded by fires.
The list of states and more on the survey is available at http://blogforcleanair.blogspot.com/2008/07/smog-watch-08-status-report-through.html