Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Clean Air Watch Smog Survey: smog problems up by nearly one-third in September

Even as many in Congress continue relentless attacks on air pollution control requirements - - and the Obama administration faces accusations of waffling -- Clean Air Watch disclosed today that “Code Orange” and “Code Red” smog days were up by nearly one-third in September compared to September 2010.

In releasing its latest Smog Watch Survey, Clean Air Watch noted the 2011 eye-brow-raising smog spike came despite a rainy and cool September which washed out most of the problems in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast.

Clean Air Watch noted that there were 1,038 “Code Orange” or “Code Red” days in September, clustered in 22 states. That compares to 785 such days in 24 states and the District of Columbia in September 2010. Clean Air Watch volunteers compiled these statistics from state-run smog monitors. The total refers to the number of monitors with dirty-air readings worse than the smog standard (75 parts per billion of ozone) set by the Bush administration in 2008. The EPA recently said it will enforce this standard after President Obama blocked efforts to toughen it.

Altogether in 2011, there have been more than 5,300 “Code Orange” or “Code Red” smog days through September, compared to about 3,900 the previous year – a 36 percent increase, Clean Air Watch noted.

Some interesting factoids:

• Chicago had a “Code Orange” smog day the very day (September 2) President Obama ordered the EPA to kill its plan to update and toughen national air quality standards for smog.

• California retains the dubious honor of having the worst air in the nation. There were “Code Orange” or “Code Red” readings somewhere in Calfornia 27 days during September – every day except Sept. 12, 25 and 26.

• Close on California’s heels, however, was Texas, which had 25 dirty-air days during September – an interesting factoid given Gov. Rick Perry’s opposition to EPA’s Cross-State Pollution Rule AND his bizarre bragging about pollution cleanup in the state.

The widespread air pollution problem is further evidence that more needs to be done to clean up the air – including pollution reductions at power plants as well as tougher new standards for motor vehicles and cleaner, lower-sulfur gasoline.

More details are available at

State-by-state monitoring results are available from Clean Air Watch.

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