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New report: Progress made In reducing air pollution

On April 17, The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control [PDF]. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control, according to an AAPCA press release.

The AAPCA is a consensus-driven organization focused on assisting state and local air quality agencies and personnel with implementation and technical issues associated with the federal Clean Air Act. AAPCA members work collaboratively on behalf of states and the communities they protect to act as a conduit for and provide feedback to federal regulators on air quality rules that have significant impacts across the entire nation. AAPCA represents more than 40 state and local air agencies, and senior officials from 20 state environmental agencies currently sit on AAPCA’s Board of Directors. AAPCA is housed in Lexington, Kentucky as an affiliated association of the Council of State Governments (CSG).

Released ahead of Earth Day (April 22) and Air Quality Awareness Week (May 1-5), this publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.

Where data sets allow state-to-state comparisons, the report highlights critical areas where the 20 states that serve on the AAPCA Board of Directors have provided leadership. Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling,” said AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality. “This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”

According to Vice President Stuart Spencer of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality: “AAPCA members, who have primary responsibility for air quality in parts of the country growing in population and economic activity, have demonstrated leadership across all key metrics of air quality success. The Greatest Story Seldom Told helps illustrate that, even under increasingly stringent national standards, these agencies are succeeding and innovating.”

Read more about the report and its findings at the AAPCA website.

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