EPA Report: Skies Healthier Over Eastern United States

Smog-forming emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from power plants and industry have declined significantly in 19 eastern states and the District of Columbia. The NOx Budget Trading Program (NBP) annual report, released on Sept. 27, indicates that summertime NOx emissions were 7 percent lower than in 2005, 60 percent lower than in 2000, and 74 percent lower than in 1990.

"The proof is in the numbers. By cutting smog-forming emissions, 55 million Americans in the eastern United States are breathing easier," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "NOx reductions are not just good news for the health of our environment and the health of our residents, they are good news for the health of our economy."

The reduction of NOx -- a precursor to ground-level ozone, or "smog" -- has helped reduce ground-level ozone concentrations an average of 5 percent to 8 percent in the eastern United States in the last three years. Four out of five eastern ozone non-attainment areas now meet the current standard.

The report tracks summertime emission reductions from 1990 to 2006 and assesses the impact of these reductions on ozone air quality in the eastern region. The largest NOx reductions occurred in the mid-central area of the eastern United States including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.

The 2006 NOx Budget report is online at http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/progress/nbp06.html.

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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