Friday, December 27, 2013

Is LA Air Less Polluted? Yes, But . . .

Jacob commented on yesterday's post with extremely clear views of LA:
"Don't think I've seen LA air look so clear. Was it wind pushing pollution away or are environmental regs really making that much difference? A bit of both seems likely, but what's going here?"

nswfm commented that it was a bit windy.

But I haven't experienced any wind since I got here.

The answer, according to an LA Times article yesterday on the San Jaoquin Valley is that pollution is down, but EPA standards are up.  

After spending decades and hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning up
DOT map San Joaquin Valley
stubbornly high levels of pollution, air quality officials in the San Joaquin Valley are telling federal regulators that enough is enough.
San Joaquin Valley officials say that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is unfairly blaming locals for air fouled by outside sources and is failing to take into account the pollution-trapping topography of the mountain-ringed basin.
"Once we've done everything we can, we should not be penalized," Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, said in reference to fees his agency has imposed on local drivers and businesses in recent years after failing to meet federal deadlines to curb smog.
The local officials argue the smog they get comes from pollution blowing in from Asia and non-local vehicles driving through the San Joaquin Valley.  The Valley reported that they now meet EPA standards.
"The EPA says that readings at two of the most polluted air quality monitoring sites are flawed and do not prove that the region's air has been cleaned up enough to reach the agency's 1979 standard for ozone. The EPA says that it will hold the San Joaquin Valley to the same standards as the rest of the nation and has asked the district for more data to back up its contention."
You can read the whole  LA Times  article, but interestingly, the print version has graphics that are not online.  They show a steady, but inconsistent decline. 

The San Joaquin Valley starts north of LA.  ABC News  in April 2013 said that
 "Los Angeles Tops ‘Dirty Air’ List for 13th Time in 14 Years"

They cite a report from The American Lung Association (Key Findings) where you can look up air pollution information on any state and city in the US.  I say "look up" but it doesn't mean you'll find it.  All of Alaska, for instance is labeled either INC (indicates incomplete monitoring data for all three years) or DNC (ndicates that there is no monitor collecting data in the county).

But they do have information on Los Angeles.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to copy the table and preserve the format, so I'm posting a screenshot and the links below don't work - the image is just an image.  But if you click on it, it will take you to the Lung Association page and you can read more.    As you can see, despite getting failing grades, there are significant improvements.

So, Jacob, I hope that answers your question. 

[Note:  Just when I thought the Feedburner problems had been fixed, this post hasn't made it to other Blogrolls for over 7 hours now.]

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