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Report: Clean Air Act is "Airing Out" the Atmosphere

PHOTO: Several Colorado cities, including Colorado Springs, have been recognized by the American Lung Association as being some of the cleanest U-S cities. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
PHOTO: Several Colorado cities, including Colorado Springs, have been recognized by the American Lung Association as being some of the cleanest U-S cities. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
May 1, 2014

DENVER – America is doing something right when it comes to improving the quality of its air, according to a report released this week by the American Lung Association.

Several Colorado cities – Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Pueblo – were specifically recognized as being some of the cleanest U.S. cities.

Janice Nolen, the Lung Association’s assistant vice president for National Policy, says while policies instituted under the Clean Air Act are making a difference, recent extreme events in Colorado such as droughts and wildfires are blowing the winds of change in the wrong direction.

"Those are things that give rise to particles,” she explains. “When you've got ash and soot and dust-burned particles in the atmosphere, you are going to have some levels, especially near some communities, that are going to be high for days."

According to the Lung Association’s State of the Air 2014 report, almost half of the country experienced unhealthy air quality between 2010 and 2012.

Ozone was a more significant problem overall last year, likely because of warmer temperatures related to climate change, but Grand Junction is listed as being one of the cleanest cities when it comes to ozone pollution.

Nolen says the Clean Air Act, controls to limit air pollution from power plants and the movement toward cleaner fuels are among the efforts over the past 40 years that are working to improve air quality.

"And we have good evidence, just looking at the 15 years of this report, that those steps of cleaning
up power plants, cleaning up diesel, cleaning up cars, cleaning up SUVs – things like that – have made a huge difference in reducing pollution across the nation," she explains.

The American Lung Association recommends continued efforts to put cleaner gasoline and diesel vehicles on the road, updating national standards for wood-burning devices and lowering acceptable ozone levels, which the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated would save between 4,000 and 12,000 lives.



Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO