Friday, April 29, 2005

Every Breath You Take

Well the results are in, again, and again Anne Arundel County gets an F for its overall air quality and ozone pollution. The American Lung Association has ranked Anne Arundel as having the 19th worst air pollution of any county in the nation (last year we were 17th). According to the study, the County had 21.3 unhealthy air days in 2002-2003, only slightly better than the state's worst, Harford County, at 22.2 days. Three quarters of the County's population (over 385,000 people) are at risk from exposure to air pollution in the form of ground-level ozone, a precursor to smog which causes respiratory illnesses, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels and evaporation of chemicals.

The results drew tepid response from the usual suspects. "It's been a continued problem for a number of years," offered Rich McIntire, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. Mr. McIntire then proceeded to declare that, "many of the state's problems aren't of its own making, with pollution from cars on Interstate 95 and from power plants in the Midwest making its way into Marylanders' lungs."

We hear it time and again. "It's not our problem the air quality stinks, it's their fault, and we can't do anything about them." I'm sympathetic to the fact that lots of air pollution comes from the midwest (after all, Harford County isn't exactly a bastion of polluting industry as far as I can tell). But, this doesn't absolve Marylanders of having to work with the cards we've been dealt and perhaps be a bit more miserly with our own polluting. Yet the Guv and his cronies killed the coal pollution bill last session. Finally, if this pollution really is coming from the midwest, why aren't our Governor, US Representatives, and Senators raising heaven and earth to get them to cut it out?

Heritage Foundation shills went on record whining that the American Lung Association was providing information in a format that might cause someone to become upset.


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