It's unfortunate the Dallas Morning News chose to drink the Kool-Aid and say, that despite DFW once again getting an "F" from the American Lung Association for its smog levels, it "isn't as bad as it looks" because the air is "getting cleaner" than it was in…1999.
And 20 years ago too probably, but what about compared to, say, 2010? In that more relevant comparison, the answer would be no, the air is not cleaner, it's in fact dirtier. The average concentration of smog has inched up over the past two years and the number of monitors in violation of the old 85 parts per billion ozone standard has increased from 2 to 7 in 2011 and 6 last year. That's not progress.
The DMN story also doesn't mention that the state has tried and failed twice with its "clean air plans" to reach the obsolete 1997 standard, and it forget to say we face a 2018 deadline to meet the new 75 ppb standard. But don't worry because the air is cleaner than it was in…1999! Even if it's still not safe or legal.
State Representatives Lon Burnam, Rafael Anchia and Roberto Alonzo, along with the American Lung Association, are sponsoring a DFW road show on either side of the Metromess next week on the important subject of Latinos and Air Pollution. On Tuesday, March 13th, from 9:30 to 11:00 am at the Tarrant County Medical Society at 555 Hemphill in Ft.Worth, Adrianna Quintero of the Natural Resources Defense Council will discuss that group's recent report, "U.S. Latinos and Air Pollution: A Call to Action" on the disproportionate effect of air pollution on Latinos in the United States and what can be done about it. Frederick Lopez of The American Lung Association will discuss the ALA's report, "Luchando por el Aire: The Burden of Asthma on Hispanics" which looks at how asthma affects Latinos and what can be done to reduce and prevent it. Then from 12 Noon to 1:30 pm that same Tuesday, at the Center for Community Cooperation at 2900 Live Oak, the whole thing is being repeated for the benefit of a Big D audience. In 2005 the CDC found that ER visits due to asthma were almost twice as high for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic Caucasians. These new reports should be able to update those kinds of trends and track existing disparities among US Latinos.Y'all come.
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has a young son with asthma. That's one of the reasons she was such a passionate advocate for new, lower, tougher standards for ambient ozone pollution, or smog, before the rug got pulled out from under her by the President and his campaign advisers last month. In a newly released report that would have served as a preamble to a new 70 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standard in the Federal Register, Jackson and the EPA had formally concluded that the existing standard of 75 ppb endangered thousands of Americans, including people with existing respiratory ailments like her son. The Bush-era limit on ozone was “not adequate to protect public health,” and failed to take into account "newly available evidence," according to the original EPA language. Such a report will be fodder for the new lawsuitfiled by five environmental groups this week, which claims that the Administration's retreat from Jackson's recommendation was politically driven and not based on the best science. Meanwhile, because of the 2-year delay in setting a standard, chronic smog hotspots like DFW must now wait until close to the end of the decade to have any hope of getting safe and legal air to breathe.