Tuesday, April 06, 2004

It's nice to see something like this in the New Republic. By pointing out the holes in a recent New York Time magazine article about "new source review," it discusses how air quality has consistently gotten better over the years, including the George W. Bush years. For example:

Where the distortion enters is in what's not said. First, the impression is given is that new-source review is the guts of the Clean Air Act, when in fact it's a secondary provision, governing only a small fraction of total air emission sources. Second and much more important, trends involving pollutants governed by the Clean Air Act are positive and have continued to be positive under George W. Bush. (Greenhouse gases, where trends are negative, are not governed by the Clean Air Act or by any law.) Aggregate air emissions, everything rolled into one, have declined 25 percent since 1970, though the population has risen 39 percent in the same period. The Times Magazine cover and article give the impression that air pollution is getting worse when in fact it's in significant decline: about half as much, per capita, as in 1970.

That is obvious in Phoenix. When I movecd there in 1982 there were more than 100 days of air quality violations every winter. In the past five years or so I bet we've had no more than five total.


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