Metro Atlanta and Georgia, in addition to most of the country, has seen improved air quality over the past few years as a result of the Clean Air Act. The American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report shows that Georgia has improved in the two most hazardous forms of air pollution: ozone pollution and particle pollution.
The number of people across the U.S. exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution dropped from 166 million, in the 2016 report, to about 125 million people, in this year’s report, according to the Lung Association.
Much of the air quality improvement came from cleaning up major pollution sources, such as coal-fired power plants, and retiring old, dirty diesel engines, the Lung Association concluded. The Lung Association’s findings also leads to the conclusion that as global warming increases, it gets harder to keep air clean. The EPA and Clean Air Act are more important now than ever.
“This year’s ‘State of the Air’ report is a testament to the success of the Clean Air Act, which has reduced air pollution in much of the nation,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “As a result, Americans’ lung health is far better protected today than it was before the Clean Air Act health protections began nearly five decades ago. However, this report adds to the evidence that the ongoing changes in our climate make it harder to protect human health. As we move into an ever-warming climate, cleaning up these pollutants will become ever more challenging, highlighting the critical importance of protecting the Clean Air Act.”
This is all at odds with Trump’s current proposal to shrink the EPA by about 25 percent — funding would decrease by $2.4 billion. According to the budget proposal, Trump would like to see dramatic decreases to federal vehicle and fuel standards and climate protection, the two areas that may have the greatest impact on the cleanliness of the air we breathe.
Trump’s EPA budget proposal puts all of the progress the Clean Air Act and the EPA has made in jeopardy. We cannot allow him to gamble with our health and our environment to benefit big business.