Monday, November 10, 2008

EPA, DEQ & counties must clean up AZ's bad air

Pollution in the Grand Canyon State.

TUCSON -- There is a health warning today for harmful particulate pollution in our air. Flying back from DC yesterday, it looked like we were landing in Los Angeles. It's so bad this morning that you cannot even see the Santa Catalina Mountains from the city, and they are right there. We certainly make our own pollution in Pima County, but much of the bad air also blows in from Pinal and Maricopa Counties, from which we are downwind.

For far too long, lawmakers, EPA and AZDEQ have done too little, too late about air pollution as counties beholden to polluters say 'give us more time'. No more, fully implement the Clean Air Act now instead of continuing to try to avoid it as the pollution gets worse. Kids and people are getting sick, and our quality of life and economy are suffering. Arizona needs real action now to clean up our air, not more bureaucratic excuses and mumbo-jumbo.

I intend to take this on in the legislature with many diverse allies who will join me for a new, real effort to clean up Arizona's bad unhealthy air.


Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,
We had quite a dust storm yesterday. I wouldn't say that what you were seeing this morning was pollution other than dust.....

DRP said...

Cathy and all -- 'Dust' is harmful pollution, largely from poor land practices. Dust storms are not 'natural'.

From PDEQ website,

Health Effects

Both PM10 (big) and PM2.5 (small) particles can cause health problems; specifically respiratory health (that's the lungs and airway). Because the PM2.5 travels deeper into the lungs AND because the PM2.5 is made up things that are more toxic (like heavy metals and cancer causing organic compounds), PM2.5 can have worse health effects than the bigger PM10.

Exposure to particulate matter leads to increased use of medication and more visits to the doctor or emergency room. Health effects include the following:

* Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath
* Aggravated asthma
* Lung damage (including decreased lung function and lifelong respiratory disease)
* Premature death in individuals with existing heart or lung diseases

Jeneiene Schaffer, Campaign Coordinator said...

Dust storms are not normal in the deserts. These 'storms' are directly related to soil erosion from: cattle feed lots, agribusiness of cotten and alphalfa (to feed cattle), mining, and off road vehicles.

If we want to remain a beaufiful and healthy state in which to live, and have a healthy tourism industry, we need to re-think our business priorities and investments, and act accordingly. And act soon.

Anonymous said...

Large development projects kick up a lot of dust.

In fact, in Phoenix, when they failed the EPA standards, thus loosing the State 1.1 billion dollars in Federal Highway funds, it was determined by the EPA, the culprit was 'particulate matter' in the air -- the kind created by earth moving activities = blade and lay barren huge parcels of land. Then they dig some more for foundations, underground utilities, swimming pools, etc.

Sprawling development is a big part of our air pollution problems in any area where a lot of construction or open pit mining is occurring.

Ask anyone living downwind of any big development, or open pit limestone quarry or copper quarry. Green Valley residents have experienced this problem often.

Just Tucson Water redoing their main infrastructure kicked up an unbelievable amount of dust, because they failed to use any dust controlling measures. The mains were dug at least 5 feet down.

And when I called the local Pima County department charged with enforcement of clean air practices -- they first tried to make me feel I was just being a jerk.

I had to remind them of the threat of Valley Fever spores released when there is any significant disturbance into this area's soil.

To add to this, there was a Tucson Water quality control guy watching this all happen, and did nothing.

Yes, something needs to be done to make the enforcers actually do the enforcing.

Anyway -- everyone forgets how much construction adds to our harmful 'particulate' problems.