Posted by: Chris Maloney | May 3, 2011

Maine, Just Like Los Angeles in the Spring?

Air quality signboard indicating an ozone watc...

Image via Wikipedia

It turns out that, even though Maine doesn’t generate the pollution, we still get the pollution from out of state.  According to the American Lung Association, (see State of Your Air) several of Maine’s counties flunked air quality for ozone.  That means that there are areas of California with better air in terms of ozone than we have here in Maine.  It isn’t that they aren’t producing pollution, it’s just that they are downwind of the Pacific Ocean, whereas we are downwind from them, all the midwest, and even the mid-atlantic states

Since this is Air Quality Week, according to the EPA, (see Air Quality info), we might want to figure out a way to stop the ozone emissions coming in.  If we can track the signature of particles from Japan, it seems reasonable to track the signature of particles being emitted by up wind power plants.  They aren’t getting the pollution because of high stacks, but we are.  If they were polluting our water streams, we’d have a system in place to stop them.  Why is it different if they are polluting our air streams?  It’s a classic example of externalizing costs (health and cleanup) rather than taking responsibility to make the necessary changes.  Maybe only a tiny portion of our pollution is from power plants, but I suspect we simply don’t know. 

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