Clean Air Board comments on EPA’s proposed ozone standard

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required by law to review and adjust its public health standards for critical air pollutants every five years.  This review is based on the latest scientific and medical information.  Last November, EPA proposed to move to an 8-hour exposure standard for ozone between 60 and 70 ppb (parts per billion) in the ambient air.

The current public health standard is 75 ppb.  If a new standard is adopted, the public would alerted to more “bad air” days — days during which the air quality is worse than the ozone standard.  These air quality action days would occur during the warmer months, when pollutants bake in the atmosphere to form ground level ozone.

Our members include many people who suffer ailments from breathing polluted air.  The Cumberland Valley is at the receiving end of an ozone transport corridor which originates hundreds of miles away.  Even on days when an ozone alert has not been declared, people can and do suffer respiratory problems due to ozone.

In our letter to EPA, we highlighted some of the more recent scientific and medical studies supporting a more stringent ozone standard. Many of these studies have identified strong links between long-term and short-term exposure to ozone to specific health ailments; other studies have linked air pollution to death rates in certain areas, or have begun to assess the negative impact of air pollution on health care costs and economic productivity.

We support a more stringent 8-hour ozone exposure standard which would better protect our health.

To view CAB’s comments to EPA, click here CAB comment ozone 2015

For more information from EPA, go to http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/actions.html

DEP has declared an AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY for the SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY on Tuesday, March 10

Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Susquehanna Valley on Mar 10
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Tuesday, Mar 10: 105 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Wednesday, Mar 11: 81 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Current Conditions: Our weather pattern has finally changed into something that more resembles March. High pressure is providing plenty of sunshine and milder air this Monday afternoon. Temperatures in many areas have moved past the 50 degree mark for the first time all year. Light winds with added warmth pushed fine particulate levels well into the moderate range this morning, but these concentrations are falling this afternoon with increasing winds. Overall, we will remain in the moderate range on average for today. Clear this evening, then clouds will increase and thicken later on tonight. Limited mixing and moisture advection will mean fine particulate levels rise into the code ORANGE range overnight. Low temperatures falling only into the lower 30s. ***Tuesday’s forecast: An Air Quality Action Day will be declared for Tuesday for elevated fine particulate concentrations. With plenty of low level moisture and near calm winds, concentrations should remain at code ORANGE levels through the day. Upper level flow from the southwest will send moisture our way in the form of rain later Tuesday afternoon and night. A little cooler than Monday with highs reaching into the lower to middle 40s. A shift in flow direction will turn the rain off later on Tuesday night, with fine particulate perhaps dropping some into the upper moderate zone.

For more information, go to http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=165 

March 5 CAB meeting canceled

Due to weather conditions, we are canceling the CAB meeting scheduled for March 5.

AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY HAS BEEN DECLARED FOR SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY ON FRIDAY, JAN 23

 The Department of Environmental Protection has declared an air quality action day for Jan.23.
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Friday, Jan 23: 110 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Saturday, Jan 24: 81 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Current conditions: Clouds and fog are breaking up across the region as of 1 p.m. EST this Thursday afternoon. High pressure will slowly build into the area overnight tonight into Friday. We are concerned about very light winds near the surface as the high builds in with very little mixing expected. In addition, temperature inversions are likely to trap PM2.5 close to the ground. So for tonight, expect some clearing skies with very light winds. Fine particulate will increase into the code ORANGE range later on tonight as the temperature inversion develops. Low temperatures close to 20 degrees. Friday’s forecast: A PM2.5 Action Day will be declared for the day Friday as very light winds and some warming aloft will bring any mixing in the boundary layer to a halt. Code ORANGE concentrations of fine particulate are likely with this scenario. With some sunshine, afternoon temperatures will recover into the middle 30s. A storm system coming out of the deep South will then move northeastward towards us Friday night into Saturday, and with the current forecast track, we could be in line for a quick inch or so of snow during this period. Precipitation could briefly turn to a bit of rain by later Saturday morning as temperatures creep just above the freezing mark. While atmospheric mixing will be a little greater on Saturday, fine particulate concentrations will remain well into the moderate range. *** Extended forecast: The weather pattern will continue to be an active one as we move into the early part of next week. A clipper system will move eastward and affect the area later Sunday night into Monday with snow. Because the low is expected to track more to the south, precipitation could fall as all snow as cold air remains in place. Following this, a large area of high pressure builds in for Tuesday into Wednesday of next week with dry weather and light winds. Low moderate levels of PM will occur Sunday into Monday, but with high pressure building in next week with existing snow cover, we have to again be concerned with stronger inversions trapping fine particulates close to the ground.–McAuliffe

Climate Change – It’s About Carbon

Our next Clean Air Board community meeting will be held on Feb. 5, 7 pm.

Join us as we meet with Dr. Mort Rubenstein and Mr. Michael Mark from the Citizens Climate Lobby.  They will discuss “Climate Change: It’s About Carbon!”

Location: Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle.

EPA to hold public hearings on new ozone standard

On November 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new national ambient air quality standard for ozone, the most widespread air pollutant, and one of the most dangerous. The standards would set the official limit on how much ozone pollution is too much, and help inform the public when the air in their community is dangerous to breathe.

EPA will hold three public hearings on the proposed updates to the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, also known as smog. EPA has proposed an ozone level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion to better protect American’s health and the environment, while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. The agency estimates that the benefits of meeting the proposed standards will significantly outweigh the costs, preventing asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, among other health effects.

The hearings will be held on Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, 2015. Each hearing will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 7:30 p.m. local time.

Jan. 29: Arlington, Texas
Arlington City Hall
101 W. Abram Street
Arlington, Texas, 76010

Jan. 29: Washington
U.S. EPA
William Jefferson Clinton East building, Room 1153
1301 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

Feb. 2: Sacramento, Calif.
California Air Resources Board
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 “I” Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

The public may register to speak at a specific time at a hearing by contacting Eloise Shepherd at 919-541-5507 or shepherd.eloise@epa.gov. People may also register in person on the day of the hearing. EPA will accept written comments on the proposed standards until March 17, 2015. The agency will issue a final rule by Oct. 1, 2015.

The New York Times reports on air pollution in major cities

A review of air pollution levels in the world’s largest cities.
http://nyti.ms/1CoXYdZ

Pollution Around the World: A Matter of Choices
Europe’s level of pollution may surprise some people, but it all comes down to a society’s priorities.
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