DATE: September 30, 2002
WITH BUSH POISED TO WEAKEN AIR ENFORCEMENT,
NEW SURVEY FINDS MASSIVE SMOG PROBLEM IN 2002
(Washington, D.C. September 30, 2002) - With the Bush Administration poised to weaken the Clean Air Act, a new survey by the Clean Air Trust shows massive smog problems across the United States in the summer just concluded.
The survey, conducted by Clean Air Trust volunteers, shows continuing smog problems in at least 34 states plus the District of Columbia. At least three other states appear to have had unhealthful smog levels, although details weren't initially available, according to the Trust.
"Our survey is the first look back at this summer of smog," noted , executive director of the Trust. "And it was a very, very bad summer for breathers." He noted that with a few exceptions such as California and Texas, most states had a bigger problem with smog in 2002 than in 2001. (See list of states, cities, and recreational areas with smog problems below. Additional details are available from the Clean Air Trust.)
"Given the massive and continuing nature of the smog crisis, it is deplorable that the Bush administration would weaken clean air protections and subject us to even bigger health problems," said O'Donnell. "Children with asthma, senior citizens and others with breathing problems are suffering the most."
O'Donnell noted that the Environmental Protection Agency, at the urging of big polluters, is preparing to weaken so-called "new source review" requirements aimed at preventing polluters from increasing pollution at existing factories. Some believe EPA may weaken the rules within a matter of days, although it seems more likely the changes will be put off until after the November 5 congressional elections.
The Trust survey found that California had the most days -- 124 so far, including several last week -- with smog levels above the new national health standard. But smog problems also dogged the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and Southwest, O'Donnell noted. Official government statistics on 2002 smog levels won't be available until next year. Clean Air Trust volunteers conducted this informal survey throughout the summer, relying on phone calls and state web sites.
|SUMMER OF SMOG|
|State||2002 Smog Days1||2001 Smog Days2|
(Complete information not initially available from several states, including Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona and Arkansas that all had ozone problems in 2002. These can be inferred from EPA AIRNow ozone maps for 2002 showing that each state experienced ozone over the 8-hour health standard (http://www.epa.gov/airnow/).
Some Major and Middle-Sized Cities with Smog Problems in 2002:
Some Noted Recreational Sites with Smog Problems in 2002:
(Table of smog levels at national parks in 2002 available at http://www2.nature.nps.gov/ard/gas/exceed.htm)
1 Incomplete results, based on surveys by Clean Air Trust volunteers.
2 "Danger in the Air," USPIRG, published August 2002.
3 Tennessee results do not include Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga.
4 Kentucky total noted includes results from only one of 36 monitors.
5 Arizona total does not include Phoenix.
As always, please don't hesitate to call (202) 785-9625 if you'd like to discuss these or related issues.