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Press Releases & Bulletins

DATE: September 30, 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.

Survey details for the following dates in 2001 are available: January to April, May, June, July, August, and September.

State 2002
Smog Days1
Smog Days2
California 124 130
Texas 59 72
North Carolina 50 33
Pennsylvania 50 39
Virginia 45 22
New Jersey 44 35
Ohio 44 34
South Carolina 44 22
New York 41 25
Maryland 40 30
Indiana 40 22
Georgia 39 25
Connecticut 36 26
Tennessee (incomplete)3 35 31
Illinois 35 17
Michigan 31 24
W. Virginia 30 19
Massachusetts 30 27
Missouri 26 7
Delaware 25 21
Washington DC 21 11
Alabama 18 14
Wisconsin 17 17
Rhode Island 17 15
Maine 16 15
New Hampshire 13 10
Oklahoma 11 14
Nevada 5 3
Vermont 5 2
Colorado 3 2
Kentucky (incomplete)4 3 23
Iowa 2 1
Florida 2 14
Arizona (incomplete)5 1 12
Kansas 1 3

(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:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Houston, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Longview/Marshall, TX
  • El Paso, TX
  • Galveston, TX
  • New York City, NY
  • Albany, NY
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Rochester, NY
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Macon, GA
  • Augusta, GA
  • Athens, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington, DC
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Winston-Salem, NC
  • Columbia, SC
  • Spartanburg, SC
  • San Diego, CA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Flint, MI
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Kenosha, WI
  • Racine, WI
  • Sheboygan, WI
  • Toledo, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dayton, OH
  • Akron, OH
  • South Bend, IN
  • Evansville, IN
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Louisville, KY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • York, PA
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Hershey, PA
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Scranton, PA
  • Allentown, PA
  • Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Hartford, CT
  • New Haven, CT
  • Boston, MA
  • Springfield, MA
  • Worcester, MA
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • Camden, NJ
  • Newark, NJ
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Providence, RI
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Arlington, VA
  • Hampton Roads, VA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Roanoke, VA
  • Huntington, WV
  • Morgantown, WV
  • Wheeling, WV

Some Noted Recreational Sites with Smog Problems in 2002:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Acadia National Park, ME
  • Lewes, DE
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Kennebunkport, ME
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Adirondacks, NY
  • Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
  • Mount Vernon, VA
  • Palm Springs, CA
  • Lake Arrowhead, CA
  • Galveston Beach, TX

(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.


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