Air Trends Data Show Air Quality Improvement

Midwest Ozone Group (MOG) recently posted on its website an article by Gregory Stella, Alpine Geophysics, which addresses the improvement in recent regional emissions and air quality trends in the lower 48 states.  This article is available at  MOG has commissioned several technical studies of air quality trends, which identify trends from 1999 through current data.  Key conclusions made by Alpine Geophysics in the article are:

  1. The report confirms, that emissions have significantly decreased and air quality is significantly improved as a result of recently adopted regulations and are on track to continue to improve as these regulations are fully implemented in the upcoming years.
  2. These findings are consistent with EPA’s most recent trends publication citing a national decrease in national, aggregate emissions of fifty-nine percent (59%) since 19901.
  3. Emissions of NOx and SO2 show the largest decline during the study timeframe, largely as a result of the implementation of national and regional electric generating unit (EGU) regulation of these pollutants.
  4. In 2011, coal fuel combustion EGU sources achieved NOx reductions of 1,297,074 tons from 1999 levels in the southeast and an additional 1,135,015 ton reduction of SO2 in the northeast.
  5. Title IV reductions, the NOx State Implementation Plan (SIP) Call, and Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) require emission reductions from EGUs on the order of seventy percent (70%) from baseline conditions in selected States across the eastern U.S.
  6. Reductions in ozone and particulate precursor emissions and improvements in air quality are observed and recorded in all areas of the United States.
  7. Existing federal, State, and local air pollutant emission control programs are working and the benefits of these regulations are being realized today.



Laura Goldfarb helps clients resolve their environmental policy, regulation, and enforcement problems. Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson, Ms. Goldfarb was Assistant Counsel at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, where she represented the agency in a variety of matters relating to the state's environmental programs, and drafted regulatory and statutory environmental provisions for the State of West Virginia.
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