Environmental Regulators Tout Air Quality Improvements, Challenge Apocalyptic Rhetoric From Activist Groups


“Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, hard-working state and local air agencies have been responsible for tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air quality,” the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) said today in the report. But these environmental outcomes have remained “under the radar for most Americans,” according to the report, with some believing air quality is getting worse, not better.

“With media more likely to report bad news combined with often apocalyptic framing by advocates and limited understanding of technical air quality information, it is no wonder that the public is often confused about air quality in their city, county, state, and nation,” AAPCA said in today’s report, titled “The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control.”

“Despite tremendous strides in all measures of air quality since 2000, trends in national and international surveys show that there has been little movement in American public perception about air quality,” the report concludes.

AAPCA represents more than 40 state and local environmental agencies across the country. Under the Clean Air Act, these state and local regulators are largely responsible for meeting air quality standards set by the federal government.

The report may have been timed to preempt claims made by environmental activist groups around Earth Day on April 22. In past years, environmental groups have also used the month of April to publish their own reports on air quality and call for strict new federal emissions limits across the economy. But some environmental regulators have complained that activists are making misleading claims about air quality to push their agenda.

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