Stuart L. Spencer
Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law
The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (“AAPCA”) has issued the 2020 edition of its annual report titled: State Air Trends & Successes - The StATS Report (“Report”).
AAPCA describes the Report as cataloging:
. . . the tremendous progress that has been made improving air quality in the United States and details the core role of state and local air agencies under the federal Clean Air Act.
The Report was published on May 6th, the first day of Air Quality Awareness Week 2020, following last month’s 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. It uses data from publicly available sources such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The information provided includes:
- Ambient pollution concentrations
- Emissions sources and trendlines
- Compliance and enforcement work
- National park visibility
AAPCA describes itself as a consensus-driven organization focused on assisting state and local air quality agencies and personnel with implementation and technical issues associated with the federal Clean Air Act. The State of Arkansas is a member of AAPCA. The Division of Environmental Quality’s Air Director, Will Montgomery, is a board member.
The Report characterizes its progress in terms of air quality trends and statistics such as:
- From 1970 to 2018, a 74 percent reduction in the aggregate emissions of the six criteria air pollutants under the national ambient air quality standards, or NAAQS, program.
- Comparing 1980 to 2018, at least a 31 percent reduction in the ambient levels of ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead.
- From 2000 to 2017, an 11 percent decrease in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, while total energy production in the United States increased by 23 percent.
- From 1990 through 2017, a combined decrease in criteria air pollutant emissions of 53 percent while experiencing a 281percent increase in Gross Domestic Product, a 68 percent rise in vehicle miles traveled, a 45 percent growth in population, and a 32 percent increase in energy production.
- In the electricity sector, an average reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions of 75 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions of nearly 80 percent from 1990 to 2018.
- From 2008 to 2018, more than 60 percent of the 573-million-pound national reduction in air releases of toxic chemicals.
- In 2019, an average of 317 full compliance evaluations per state, compared to the national per-state average of 271.
Components of the report include:
- Air Quality Successes in AAPCA Member States
- American Leadership in Air Quality
- Air Quality Trends in the United States
- Other Air Quality Resources
A copy of the Report can be downloaded here.