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US EPA Reports National Trends Show Improvements in Air Quality

Since 1990, nationwide air quality has improved significantly for the six common air pollutants: ground-level ozone; particle pollution; lead; nitrogen dioxide; carbon monoxide; and sulfur dioxide, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report “Our Nation’s Air - Status and Trends through 2008”. Nationally, air pollution was lower in 2008 than in 1990 for:

  • 8-hour ozone, by 14%
  • annual PM2.5 (since 2000), by 19%
  • PM10, by 31%
  • Lead, by 78%
  • NO2, by 35%
  • 8-hour CO, by 68%
  • annual SO2, by 59%

Toxic air pollutants such as benzene, 1,3-butadiene, styrene, xylenes, and toluene decreased by 5% or more per year between 2000 and 2005 at more than half of ambient monitoring sites. Other key contributors to cancer risk, such as carbon tetrachloride, tetrachloroethylene, and 1,4-dichlorobenzene, declined at most sites. Total emissions of toxic air pollutants have decreased by approximately 40% between 1990 and 2008.

Despite this progress, about 127 million Americans live in counties violating at least one of the national air quality standards. The agency has taken recent actions further to tighten air quality standards.

EPA expects air quality to continue to improve as recent regulations are fully implemented and states work to meet current and recently revised national air quality standards. Key regulations include the Locomotive Engines and Marine Compression-Ignition Engines Rule; the Tier II Vehicle and Gasoline Sulfur Rule; the Heavy-Duty Highway Diesel Rule; the Clean Air Non-Road Diesel Rule; and the Mobile Source Air Toxics Rule.


Stan Peterson

This is wonderful news. It brings the day closer for "VE Day", or "Victory for the Environment".

Despite tinkering with the air regulations and moving the Goalposts, mostly to insure continued employment for their bureaucrats, there has been a remarkable improvement in Air Quality, throughout the country.

I wonder how many people or places are still not in compliance with the original Air Quality targets? Or in other words now have "Clean Air", as what was originally envisioned to be "Clean Air"?

Still with two thirds of the population now breathing, even better, "clean air", they can't hide the obvious improvements.



You certainly know that without DOE's ongoing efforts those good figures could very well be reversed.

The time has come to do more about industrial (junk) food worsening quality.

Junk food was replaced with better natural food (no more fries & soft drinks & chocolate bars etc) in many schools in our area and children overweight problems have stabilized and starting to go down after 6+ years.

It is well known that junk foods = overweight = diabetes = many more diseases. Over usage of industrial sugars, trans and many other harmful fats, sweet ice creams, industrial cereals and breads, salts, too much red meats, meats containing hormones, cheap hot dogs and many cheap industrial delicatessen products, etc contributed to a rise in health care cost from 5% to almost 18% of GDP (and rising) in the last 6 decades. People are starting to look like blobs of fat.

Cheap industrial foods, if not restrained, will bankrupt USA with rising heath care cost, more incurable diseases, less productivity etc. It is a case of cheaper (and more of it) is not better.

Aureon Kwolek

This article OMITS carbon dioxide as one of the 6 pollutants on the EPA list – very clever. The author apparently doesn’t want us to see that CO2 actually fell 5% in 2008 and fell again in 2009. This is due to less driving, lower fuel consumption (5-6% lower for gasoline and 10-11% lower for diesel), new cars getting better mileage, the economic downturn, cleaner biofuels displacing fossil fuels, and the increase of solar, wind, biomass, and natural gas displacing coal. Were lower CO2 levels omitted from this article, so it wouldn’t weaken the argument for global warming / climate change?

Omitting CO2 from the article also tells us that the author is an advocate of global warming, and also does Not want to bring-up the issue of whether or not carbon dioxide should be classified as a pollutant. It should not. And the Clean Air Act did Not give the EPA the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, in the context of global warming, or is that climate change. This effect is still Not accurately measured and described, and definitely Not settled. There is No consensus.

On their website, describing the Clean Air Act, EPA Does acknowledge that pollution migrates. And they describe some of the pollutants that migrate in the air and settle-out in other states or other countries. This is “Pollution Migration Effect”. And that’s what we need to mitigate. Not All the CO2 on the planet.

(1) ground-level ozone;
(2) particle pollution;
(3) lead; nitrogen dioxide;
(4) carbon monoxide;
(5) sulfur dioxide

Also notice that Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot is omitted. That's a BIG omission.

Nicholas Calvelli

Aureon, I think you should look at the march 9 EPA report for ghg emissions.
No conspiracy here, just a different report.

And the Clean Air Act did Not give the EPA the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant
The Supreme Court of the United States says otherwise.

I say that anyone who can make such an ignorant statement in a public forum and fails to retract it deserves to be pointed at and laughed at wherever they go.

Aureon Kwolek

The EPA is getting sued over this issue. There are also bills pending in Congress that will subjugate the Court decision with specific legislation. Legislation by our representatives, not 9 judges, will spell out in detail what the EPA can and can’t do. The main issue is – CO2 is NOT a pollutant. And just because the EPA says it is, does Not make it a pollutant. Now we will determine whether CO2 is a pollutant or not. And if not, then the EPA will Not have the authority to regulate it.

The Clean Air Act did Not address global warming or climate change. I said in the context of “global warming, or is that climate change.” EP omitted that in his response and took the meaning out of context. EP – you have a very shallow understanding of this issue.

EPA agency authority was previously defined in the realm of pollution control, Not CO2 control, and Not as a means to control global warming or climate change. The EPA court ruling is temporary, because Congress has the authority over the EPA, not the courts. Congress will simply redefine what it wants the EPA to do or not do.

I will never retract a true statement:

“And the Clean Air Act did Not give the EPA the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, in the context of global warming, or is that climate change.”

The suits will be dismissed instantly; the SCOTUS has already ruled that the Clean Air Act confers the necessary authority.
There are also bills pending in Congress that will subjugate the Court decision with specific legislation.
That is where the rubber meets the road. Congress has the authority to re-write the CAA, or disapprove specific regulations.
I will never retract a true statement:

“And the Clean Air Act did Not give the EPA the legal authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, in the context of global warming, or is that climate change.”

<points at Aureon and laughs>

What a maroon! Congress gave the EPA that authority in the Clean Air Act, and the EPA has it unless and until Congress takes it away. That's how our government works.

Aureon Kwolek

When Congress passed the Clean Air Act, and when it amended it, the focus and the authority was on specific known pollutants. It was Not the intent of Congress to give the EPA broad sweeping powers to control CO2 across the board, in order to mitigate what was at the time unproven science. The Clean Air Act was not crafted to solve global warming or climate change. And that’s where the court got it wrong. The vote was 5 to 4. That means the fate of the entire country would rest in the hands of one individual, an attorney turned judge, until Congress redefines the authority of the EPA.


<points at Aureon and laughs again>

No, you clown. If the EPA's remit was restricted to specific known pollutants, the Court's decision would not have come down as it did. (It's Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497, for anyone who actually cares what the law says.)

I find it ironic that you rail about 5-4 decisions when Bush only got into office on the basis of exactly such a 5-4 split, and Republican inaction in the face of clearly-written law is what led to the suit to force the EPA's hand. Had Gore won the presidency the whole matter would have been handled outside EPA channels.

Aureon Kwolek

Here’s a double brief with links to 2 articles:

One brief is about a newer law suit against the EPA: “EPA’s endangerment finding a ‘power grab’ and based on ‘scientific errors and fraud’.”

It was never the intent of Congress to give the EPA broad sweeping authority to control CO2 across every industry in the U.S.. The other brief is on a bill in the House to limit EPA’s authority. See also: “U.S. House members move to block EPA”, by Erin Voegele.

Regardless of the Mass. decision (which is a states issue), this is not over. What people call global warming or climate change is inconclusive science. It is yet to be measured and described accurately. The political agenda is falsely steering the science. UN - IPCC assumptions on CO2 are premature conjectures, yet the EPA embraces it and rushes it into their regulations, without verification. Aside from the “Real Pollutants”, EPA’s CO2 “endangerment finding” is faulty, as Erin Voegele and Kris Bevill pointed out in “Senators Release Climategate Report” (Industrial GHG Solutions).

The most significant defect in the IPCC UN report, upon which EPA science is based, is the false claim that all Himalayan Glaciers would melt by 2035, due to excess CO2 in global air. A one or two degree rise in air temperature does not melt glaciers. And furthermore, many glaciers are advancing, not receding. Yet you didn’t hear about that from the UN, because the information is being manipulated.

In reality, migrating Sulfurous Black Carbon Soot absorbs solar thermal while suspended, and it forms black layers on snow and ice. This is what’s melting glaciers, ice and snow. Not CO2. Black Carbon Soot is also a component of acid rain and pollutes run off water. This could be the main cause of ocean acidification. Instead, IPCC science falsely claims that CO2 is the main cause of ocean acidification, when acid rain is a bigger factor. Blaming CO2 is being used as a diversion. It should never have been classified as a pollutant. It’s a building block of nature.

The EPA endangerment finding is a “bate and switch”. It’s bating you with the real pollutants, and switching you to CO2, a universal control mechanism and a top priority.


The EPA's charter is to control emissions posing a danger. The EPA administrator said that he didn't think CO2 qualified, and the Supreme Court looked at the law (lower courts had already looked at the evidence in Massachusetts' suit) and said otherwise.

I find it very amusing that I give you an exact cite of a legal decision by the highest court in the USA, and you try to refute it with sound-bites and political spin. That says a lot about you, Aureon, and none of it good.

Aureon Kwolek

Someone who typically resorts to name calling, intimidation, and slander - That speaks volumes about who They are. Especially when they hide behind a fake identity. Engineer-Poet: reveal to us your real name and your country of origin.

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