For four years in a row when it comes to air quality, California cities are at the top of the smog listings. At the top of the list for air quality, California cities like Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles and the metro area of Visalia-Tulare-Porterville. The information gathered to create this list is based on how often a cities air quality reached dangerous levels for ozone pollution. This data was gathered from the Environmental Protection Agency for the years of 1999 through 2001. 2001 was the most recent year that there was information available for.
In the State of the Air report, moderate improvements have been seen in the air quality. California cities have had an impact on these improvements but the improvements are linked mostly to weather instead of pollution control laws. Less hot days, more rain and wind have had the largest impact on these improvements. Janice Nolan, director of national policy for the association believes that nothing has changed.
There are planned changes to the Clean Air Act under the Bush administration that most believe will only harm us in the future, according to Nolan. These changes include the allowance of higher pollutant levels and the restriction of pollutant controls in new power plants.
The interaction between sunlight, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides during the combustion process produce ozone. When this ozone is inhaled, the lung tissue swells up and breathing becomes difficult according to the Lung Association chairman Tony DeLucia whom is the professor of surgery at East Tennessee State University. This is most dangerous to people with asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Air quality for California cities improved in 93 counties since 2002. 26 other counties air quality for California cities lowered.
Two of the biggest contributors to ozone are cars and factories. The number one contributor is coal fueled electricity production, said Nolan. Nolan claims that some electricity companies are improving emissions while others are delaying the update and upgrade process by challenging the laws in court.
Tony DeLucia claims that people do not conserve and that the need for more power is being met by the expansion of electricity companies. He also claims that when they expand they do not use the technologies available to control emissions.
Dan Reidinger, a representative from the Edison Electric Institute, which is a trade association for electric companies argues that the industry has done a lot to reduce the emissions produced by the production of electricity.
In other words, Reidinger believes that there is nothing additional that the electric producers in the United States of America need to do to meet the laws and regulations set by the government.