Sen. Carper Encouraged by Annual National Air Quality Report; Reaffirms Essentialness of Clean Air Act

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, commented on the 12th Annual State of the Air Report, released earlier today by the American Lung Association. The State of the Air 2011 Report, which provides grades for ozone and particle pollution in cities and counties based on monitored pollution levels, finds that the majority of American cities are experiencing less air pollution as a result of the Clean Air Act. But despite the progress that has been made, 154.5 million people, including all Delawareans, live in areas where air pollution levels are still often dangerously high and endanger their lives. The report’s overall findings underscore the need for Congress to support the Clean Air Act in order to preserve clean air and protect public health.

“The American Lung Association’s 12th Annual State of the Air Report reaffirms that the Clean Air Act is still highly effective in improving the quality of the air Delawareans and Americans breathe,” said Sen. Carper. “Despite the considerable gains we have made to reduce air pollution in Delaware and across the nation, we have experienced alarming opposition to efforts to achieve cleaner, healthier air in recent months. For 40 years now, the EPA’s clean air programs have consistently shown significant returns on investment by saving thousands of lives, saving millions of dollars in health care costs and creating many clean air technology jobs for American workers. We’ve been able to clean our air and grow our economy. Especially during times of economic peril, we must exercise responsible decision-making and invest wisely. It follows, then, that rather than taking away the EPA’s ability to regulate harmful air pollution, Congress should support the full implementation of the Clean Air Act. The bottom line is that air pollution is detrimental to public health and the environment, and it is time for Congress to realize that the responsible, economically sound approach is to allow EPA to do its job so our children can have safer, cleaner air to breathe.”

The American Lung Association’s annual air quality report grades cities and counties based, in part, on the color-coded Air Quality index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help alert the public to daily unhealthy air conditions. The 2011 report uses the most recent EPA data collected from 2007 through 2009 from official monitors for ozone and particle pollution, the two most widespread types of air pollution. Counties are graded for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution levels.

To read the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2011 report, please visit To read the State of Delaware’s report, please visit