The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metropolitan area made the "cleanest cities" list for daily measure of fine particle pollution for the third straight year, according to a news release the lung association issued Wednesday. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has details on how the Northeast fared.
The study published by the American Lung Association - which covers the period from 2014 to 2016, the year before Trump took office - said Los Angeles remained the city with the worst ozone pollution, and ranked fourth in terms of year-round particle contamination. She headed the team that produced the 2018 "State of the Air" report.
The report is based on air quality monitoring data collected in 2014-2016, and does not include the historic wildfires of late 2017.
That is consistent with a trend toward increasing ozone levels among cities throughout the United States, the report states. Los Angeles has maintained its spot at the top of the list for "nearly the entire history of the report", according to the association; however the city is taking steps to save its air quality reputation. "We are improving air quality, but the impacts of climate change are interfering with progress", said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior director, Air Quality and Climate Change, American Lung Association in California.
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However, not all of the news about the region in the report was good. While that's correct, it doesn't mean that our air is all that healthy.
Pittsburgh, Lancaster and Philadelphia, all in the northeastern state of Pennsylvania, along with Cleveland, Indianapolis and Detroit, had the worst year-round particle pollution.
"North Carolina is a great success story in that we are in attainment with all air quality standards across the entire state", Michael Pjetra, deputy director for the DEQ's Division of Air Quality (DAQ), said.
"In California there are certain meteorological and topographical elements that lead to concentrations of air pollutants at the ground level", he explained. This year's State of the Air report shows that despite the recent increase in ozone pollution, the Clean Air act has worked to clean up much of the risky air pollution across the nation for decades. The region, which includes San Joaquin County for this study, was ranked as the 6th most polluted for short-term particle pollution and tied for 10th for year-round particle pollution.
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These results hint at the potentially pernicious effects of efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the Clean Air Act, Nolen said. "The second threat is repealing plans to reduce carbon pollution from power plants".
Legal requirements mandated Duke Energy to close 19 coal ash basins at its coal-fired power plants over the past several years.
Opening the door for dirtier emissions from trucks and cars.
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