Alternative Facts: Air Pollution, Climate Change & Health

Alternative Facts: Air Pollution, Climate Change & Health

This past Sunday, a Meet the Press interview featuring Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway went viral after she coined the phrase “alternative facts.” I couldn’t help but chuckle when I heard this euphemism coming out of the new White House. (I also cringed at the Orwellian undertones. But that’s a topic for a book club.)

WATCH: Kellyanne Conway defends WH press secretary's "alternative facts." #MTP pic.twitter.com/q4PVzhpA1g

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 22, 2017

Here’s the deal: Gasp is a nonpartisan, apolitical advocacy organization. We just want healthy air for …

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Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Friends,

Happy Veteran’s Day! We are so grateful for the service of those who keep us safe and secure. Our service men and women make it possible for us to do this important work freely.

On that note, I don’t think I need to tell you that the outcome of the presidential election may have serious consequences for air pollution and climate change policy. Let me be perfectly clear: the sky is not falling. Here’s what I told the Birmingham News:

“The fight for clean air, environmental justice, …

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EPA Issues Final Cross State Air Pollution Rule

EPA Issues Final Cross State Air Pollution Rule

On September 7, 2016, The EPA finalized Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) in the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update to address air quality impacts of the interstate transport of ozone air pollution in the eastern United States.

CSAPR addresses summertime (May through September) transport of ozone pollution in the Eastern U.S. that crosses state lines. CSAPR aims to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides from power plants in 22 states, including Alabama, that contribute to downwind ozone problems.

The final version will not take effect until May …

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Stronger Air Pollution Standards Could Save Lives

Stronger Air Pollution Standards Could Save Lives

“Meeting tighter pollution standards could prevent 63 avoidable deaths, 117 serious illnesses, and 88,414 adverse impact days in Birmingham alone.”

A report released this week by the American Thoracic Society and the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University shows the toll air pollution takes on public health. In “Estimated Excess Morbidity and Mortality Caused by Air Pollution above ATS Recommended Standards, 2011-2013,”  researchers calculated the health benefits of stricter air pollution standards.

The interactive Health of the Air website, which complements the report, lets users enter their ZIP code to see the possible effect of reducing ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5) in terms …

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SCOTUS Denies Appeal Over Embattled MATS Rule

SCOTUS Denies Appeal Over Embattled MATS Rule

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in Michigan v. EPA. This means that SCOTUS rejected Michigan’s and 20 other states, including Alabama, appeal to block the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS). In denying review, SCOTUS upholds the D.C. Circuit’s decision to not vacate the rule.

Almost a year ago I wrote about the SCOTUS decision that resulted in EPA performing a cost analysis for the MATS rule. Because the rule was not invalidated or stayed, crucial protections for air quality …

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This is Why I Gasp

This is Why I Gasp

by Will King, Gasp Summer Research Fellow

As we head outdoors to enjoy the sunny days and vibrant colors of spring, the quality of the air we breathe may be the last thing on our minds. May is Clean Air Month, a time devoted to bringing increased awareness to eliminating air pollution and cleaning up the invisible substance that gives us life. Spring can also be a time when many allergy, asthma, and respiratory disease sufferers must retreat indoors to prevent exacerbations of their illness.

Everyone should have the opportunity …

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State of the Air Report Shows Citizen Advocacy and Common-Sense Policies Work

State of the Air Report Shows Citizen Advocacy and Common-Sense Policies Work

The American Lung Association released its annual “State of the Air” report today and it showed that Birmingham has made significant improvements in air quality over recent years. The Birmingham metro area ranked 53rd most polluted for ozone, 22nd most polluted for year-round particles — the region’s best rankings ever. Ozone and particle pollution are criteria air pollutants regulated by the U.S. EPA.

In light of this report, Gasp Executive Director Michael Hansen released this statement:

“Birmingham’s air quality has come a long way since the Clean …

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What’s In The Air We Breathe? Understanding Air Toxics & Risk

What’s In The Air We Breathe? Understanding Air Toxics & Risk

Birmingham’s air quality has improved since the days when thick orange-brown clouds enveloped the city, but our air is still far from healthy. In the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report, Birmingham ranked 16th in annual particle pollution and 23rd in high ozone days. Air pollution is typically grouped into two categories: Criteria Air Pollutants and Hazardous Air Pollutants (Air Toxics)

Criteria Air Pollutants

The Clean Air Act requires the U.S. EPA to set emissions standards for what are known as criteria air pollutants. The …

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A Toast To Clean Air: Honoring the Past, Committing to the Future

Birmingham was built, literally and figuratively, by steel, iron and coal. This is no secret. The massive statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking, who keeps an eye on the city from atop Red Mountain is a dead giveaway. So, too, are the remains of plants like Sloss Furnaces — catacombs of an economy of yore.

Though the medical and financial sectors have overtaken iron and steel as the primary economic drivers of the region, heavy industry is still a major player. The …

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New Ozone Standards Will Protect Children, Elderly

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released a long-awaited new air quality health standard for ground-level ozone, or smog. This announcement is welcome news for thousands of Alabamians young and old who want to live a healthy life.

The EPA set the new threshold at 70 parts per billion, down from the previous level of 75 ppb set in 2008. Regulated under the Clean Air Act, ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that forms when sunlight mixes with emissions from cars, power plants, and factories. The EPA’s Scientific …

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