Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Memo to EPA; We Really Need "Tier 3" Clean Gas Standards Because the Smog Problem is Much Worse than Your Official Stats!

As faithful readers well know, Clean Air Watch has been arguing for many months for the need for EPA to adopt smog-fighting lower-sulfur gasoline standards.  For example, here bit.ly/WfUCqo  and here bit.ly/Ys6tE8

And we want to note an important additional argument today: namely, that the smog problem in America recently has been much worse than recorded by EPA's official statistics.

Indeed -- and our anaysis is based on EPA's own material  http://www.epa.gov/airdata/ad_rep_mon.html -- the number of monitors recording a violation of EPA's national ozone standard during 2010-2012 is more than double the number of violating monitors EPA previously relied on to create its official "nonattainment" list of areas out of compliance. (EPA's official "designation" list was based on earlier information, including pollution levels during the depths of the recent recession and levels that may have been artificially lower because of some cooler, wetter weather.)

The bottom line: the smog problem is worse than we are being told.  And we need the Tier 3 gasoline and vehicle standards -- the best possible smog-fighting tool available -- to make progress.



Here are some of the gruesome details. If we don't include California in the totals (because California already uses cleaner gasoline and has some unique characteristics, including a denser system of smog monitors),  the number of monitors recording a violation of the national ozone standard during 2010-2012 was 265% higher than the number of monitors EPA determined were violating the standard when it designated official nonattainment areas in May 2012. EPA mostly used data from 2008-2010, although some states requested the agency use 2009-2011 data (mostly to avoid being found in violation of the standard.  Only Illinois made that request for the Chicago area to be included among the nonattainment regions.)

The table below spells out all the details, including areas officially considered "clean" which have dirty air based on the more recent information.  Some examples: Birmingham, AL, Louisville, KY, Kansas City, MO, Dayton, OH, and many more itemized in the final column below.

It's time for the oil industry to admit we've got a real smog problem -- and cleaning up dirty gasoline is part of the solution!

**

Change in “violating” ozone monitors, 2008-2010 vs. 2010-2012.

Ozone monitoring data downloaded from EPA AirData,


 (downloaded May 1, 2013).

“Exceptional events data” are excluded.

An area “violating” is based only on in-state monitors –

it does not include MSAs in violation based on monitors in adjacent states.




State/
DC
2008-2010
2010-2012
Change
New areas “violating”
AL
0
4
+4
Birmingham
AZ
2
12
+10
Yuma
AR
0
2
+2
Little Rock
 
 
 
 
 
CO
2
8
+6
No new areas
CT
8
9
+1
No new areas
DE
3
6
+3
Kent Co.
DC
2
2
0
No new areas
FL
0
0
0
No new areas
GA
5
6
+1
No new areas
ID
0
0
0
No new areas
IL*
2
10
+8
Hamilton Co.; Jersey Co.
IN
0
4
+4
Clark Co.; Floyd Co.; Greene Co.; LaPorte Co.
IA
0
0
0
No new areas
KS
0
4
+4
Johnson Co.; Wichita; Sumner Co.
KY
0
8
+8
Owensboro; Lewisport; Henderson Co.; Louisville; Paducah
LA
1
8
+7
Shreveport; Pointe Coupee Par.
ME
0
0
0
No new areas
MD
10
14
+4
Kent Co.
MA*
1
1
0
No new areas
MI
0
13
+13
Allegan Co.; Berrien Co.; Cass Co.; Flint; Lenawee Co.; Detroit; Muskegon; Ottawa Co.; St. Clair Co.; Ypsilanti
MN
0
0
0
No new areas
MS*
0
0
0
No new areas
MO
1
12
+11
Kansas City; Clinton Co.; Jasper Co.; Lincoln Co.; Perry Co.
MT
0
0
0
No new areas
NE
0
0
0
No new areas
NV
0
0
0
No new areas
NH
0
0
0
No new areas
NJ
10
12
+2
No new areas
NM
0
0
0
No new areas
NY
5
11
+6
No new areas
NC*
4
8
+4
Winston-Salem; Guilford Co.
ND
0
0
0
No new areas
OH
7
22
+15
Springfield; Toledo; Dayton; Canton; Trumbull Co.
OK
0
14
+14
Adair Co.; Canadian Co.; Cherokee Co.; Oklahoma City; Creek Co.; Mayes Co.; Ottawa Co.; Tulsa
OR
0
0
0
No new areas
PA
10
18
+8
Hershey; Erie; Indiana Co.; Mercer Co.; York Co.
RI*
0
1
+1
Washington Co.
SC*
0
0
0
No new areas
SD
0
0
0
No new areas
TN
6
6
0
Nashville
TX
20
39
+19
San Antonio; Hood Co.; Jefferson Co.;
VT
0
0
0
No new areas
UT
0
3
+3
Uintah Co.
VA*
3
8
+5
Richmond; Stafford Co.; Hampton
WA
0
0
0
No new areas
WV
0
0
0
No new areas
WI
1
10
+9
Door Co.; Kewaunee Co., Manitowoc Co.; Milwaukee; Ozaukee Co.; Racine
WY
1
1
0
No new areas
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 (no CA)
104
276
+172
 

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