Sunday, August 06, 2006


From 8/3/06 Progress Report:

ENVIRONMENT -- RECORD TEMPERATURES BRING MORE THAN HEAT: This summer's intense heat wave, which has already killed 160 people, has also contributed to a "blanket of smog" across the nation, raising concerns of thicker air pollution and related illnesses. According to a study of government data by Clean Air Watch, public health standards for smog in 38 states and the District of Columbia were exceeded "more than 1,000 times at official air pollution monitors last month," an increase from the same period last year. While progress had been made in recent decades against smog, this latest trend is likely to continue as temperatures rise, which are "perfect for producing peak smog levels." Said William Becker, executive director of a national association of local air quality officials, "It's vitally important EPA take swift and aggressive actions, including regulating locomotives and marine vessels…which in the next 10 or 15 years are going to be the predominant source of smog." In recent weeks, however, conservative senators have pressured the Environmental Protection Agency not to raise its national air pollution standards, which are currently below levels recommended by the World Health Organization. At a hearing on the matter, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said, "Clean air standards reduce our quality of life," and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) added, "Maybe it's cheaper to buy everyone an air conditioner" than reduce pollution. With smog-related illnesses, like asthma, on the rise, 22 cities around the world agreed yesterday to join the Clinton Climate Initiative to "create an international consortium to bargain for cheaper energy-efficient products and share ideas on cutting greenhouse gas pollution."


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