Friday, May 04, 2012

Smog Watch Report: Texas is Number One -- for Smog in 2012

It is, of course, a coincidence, but… the same week that EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz was forced from his Dallas-based post, Clean Air Watch must report that Texas leads the nation in dirty-air days so far in 2012.

Yes, in recent days we’ve had the American Lung Association annual State of the Air Report and then EPA’s official list of areas out of compliance with the scientifically deficient ozone standards set by the Bush EPA. And now Clean Air Watch presents a real-time Smog Watch update: as snapshot of areas with the same unhealthful levels of ozone (using the same Bush standards as our basis) in 2012. This is the only report using information from this year, based on information supplied by our volunteers, who have been monitoring state-run web sites.

In brief, here is what they’ve found: through April of this year, seven states have already suffered ozone levels above the Bush standard of 75 parts per billion. There have been 26 days this year with unhealthful levels in one state or another.

Texas, unfortunately, leads the pack with 12 dirty-smog days through the end of April. Ten of those smog-filled days took place in the Houston area (Harris County). Altogether nationwide there have been 148 so-called “exceedences” (level above the standard) recorded at monitors nationwide.

Below is a list of states with problems and the number of dirty-air days, through the end of April. For a little context, we have also included similar information for the same period in 2011, though, as one of our volunteers notes accurately, year to year variability in weather will make comparisons between years not that meaningful. It is too soon to predict that this year’s smog season will be worse than last.

It is, however, fair to note that we are indeed seeing smog problems long before the start of summer. And that this information underscores the need for the EPA to set tougher motor vehicle and low-sulfur gasoline standards, which would quickly reduce smog levels across the nation.

Smog Watch 2012 through April compared to last year

State Ozone dirty air days 2012 (148 exceedences overall)

Overall dirty-air days somewhere (in at least one state): 26

Seven states

Arizona 3
California 7
Colorado 4
Florida 3
Louisiana 2
New Mexico 1
Texas 12

State ozone dirty air days 2011 (126 exceedences overall)

Overall dirty-air days somewhere (in at least one state): 20

10 states

Arkansas 1
California 4
Kansas 4
Louisiana 3
Missouri 1
New York 1
Oklahoma 6
Texas 9
Utah 3
Wyoming 7

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