EDITORIAL: County’s air gains passing gradeMay is Clean Air Month and what better time could there be to celebrate this important resource that we all need for survival.
May is Clean Air Month and what better time could there be to celebrate this important resource that we all need for survival.
Just in time for the special month, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2012 report was released last week. It’s an interesting read.
The State of the Air report indicates that, overall, air quality across the U.S. is at its cleanest since the organization’s annual report began 13 years ago.
Clean air boosters claim standards set under the Clean Air Act to reduce major air pollution sources (including coal-fired power plants, diesel engines, and SUVs) are working to drastically cut ozone and particle pollution.
Despite the progress made over the years, the act remains under attack by political foes. It makes little sense to weaken the protections from a societal standpoint. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that cutting air pollution through the act will likely prevent at least 230,000 deaths and save $2 trillion annually by 2020.
We would certainly encourage policy makers to think twice about exposing our nation’s air to degradation down the road, even if it results in economic gain for some.
In last week’s report, St. Croix County earned mixed grades for ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot), receiving an “A” for ozone, a “C” for 24-hour (short term) particle pollution and a “Pass” for year-round particle pollution.
Additionally, St. Croix County was included on the list of cleanest counties for ozone pollution.
It’s essentially the same grade the region received last year in the report. You’d think we have some of the cleanest air around, but that’s not really the case.
St. Croix County continues to see regular health alerts at various times of the year, warning at-risk people about elevated pollution levels. The poor air quality occurs when weather systems stall overhead and pollution doesn’t dissipate.
The pollution can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, emergency room visits, and even cause premature death.
As we think about our air throughout May, take time to let your elected officials know how much you value a clean environment. Clean air should always be a priority, no matter what the potential cost.