Hudson Valley gets failing grades on air quality

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 19, 2018

The annual State of the Air report card found almost 130 million people live in areas with a failing grade for ozone pollution.

"It is critical that California continues to lead the nation in the transition away from polluting fossil fuels, especially as the federal government takes steps to roll back lifesaving measures that reduce climate pollution like clean auto standards", Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior director of Air Quality and Climate Change for the American Lung Association in California, said in the statement.

Shasta, Tehama and Butte counties saw a significant increase in unhealthy air days for ozone, all receiving an F grade.

Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Fort Smith were on the list for cleanest cities for ozone pollution, while Little Rock was listed as the 24th most polluted cited in the country for year-round particles, officials said in a media release.

The American Lung Association's 2018 State of the Air report grades ozone and particle pollution levels collected by state EPA offices from 2014-2016.

San Joaquin and Santa Cruz County, by far the two worst counties for particle pollution in this extended region, saw significant improvements from peak pollution levels reported previous year, but still earned F grades.

The Bay Area ranked 13th nationally for ozone pollution. Sunlight and heat accelerate this reaction, causing ozone pollution to be worst on hot, sunny summer days when light wind allows such ozone to concentrate.

Seilback said it's up to each state's congressional delegation to fight against any efforts to rollback the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to keep air quality protections in place. While that's correct, it doesn't mean that our air is all that healthy. Albany County, which is just north of the Hudson Valley, received a "B" rating for ozone.

The three-year rolling period is created to correlate with those federal standards, and the impact a single year's weather can have on ozone pollution was demonstrated in the longer-term Lucas County data.

The latest sample period, however, replaced 2013 with 2016.

That year had "a very hot summer" and was one of the hottest years overall - "definitely in OH", said Ken Fletcher, the lung association's advocacy director for Ohio.

Statewide, 35 million Californians - 90 percent of the population - live in counties affected by unhealthful air during the year, the American Lung Association reported. "Air travels from one state to another, so only federal protections can help protect the air we all breathe".

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