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 13th Annual State of the Air Report, released earlier today by the American Lung Association. The State of the Air 2012 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, 127 million people – 41 percent of the nation and 100 percent of Delawareans – still suffer pollution levels that are unhealthy. 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 13th Annual State of the Air Report shows that since we passed the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990, our air has gotten cleaner, while our economy and energy use has increased greatly. These report results reaffirm my argument that we can have a strong economy, clean air and protect public health all at the same time.” said Sen. Carper. “Despite the considerable gains we have made to reduce air pollution in Delaware and across the nation, the report shows that a lot of work remains to be done. Unfortunately 41 percent of Americans, and all Delawareans, still must breathe unhealthy air. That does not even include the public health concerns of air toxics such as mercury, which we know threatens the health of hundreds of thousands of newly born babies every year across the country. Many states with unhealthy air – like Delaware – have already made great strides in cleaning up their air pollution, but receive soot and smog from neighboring states that have not made the same clean-up investments. It is time we all work together to clean up the air and protect our health. 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 scores of clean air technology jobs for American workers. That is why I will continue to fight against initiatives that threaten to take away the EPA’s ability to regulate harmful air pollution, and continue to support the full implementation of the Clean Air Act. Our children deserve safer, cleaner air to breathe and we can give it to them while continuing to grow our economy. That sounds like a win-win to me.”

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 2012 report uses the most recent EPA data collected from 2008 through 2010 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 2012 report, please visit