However, Los Angeles and Bakersfield pollution levels actually have plummeted during past two decades.
Despite all of this business-crushing environmental protection, the Golden State is covered in shame and smog. It turns out six of the ten most polluted American cities are in California!
California’s smoggy reputation appears to be deserved: Six of the USA’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in the Golden State, according to a new report.
Bakersfield, Calif., again holds the dubious distinction of having the USA’s most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released Wednesday found.
In addition to the worst spikes of short-term pollution — led by Bakersfield — the report also lists the cities with the worst overall year-round pollution — led by Visala/Hanford, Calif.— and the worst ozone pollution, led by the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.
But is the news as dire as is being presented, especially since reports like this will inspire even more unreasonable regulatory inanity?
The first point to address is that Californian geography lends itself to conditions that are favorable to smog formation. For example, the combination of the Los Angeles basin, the limited number of mountain passes that are conducive to air flow, and Pacific Inversion causing cooler air to seal in warm, contaminate-containing atmosphere cannot be changed…short of a MOAB.
The most polluted city, Bakersfield, lies near the southern “horseshoe” end of the San Joaquin Valley, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east. The combination of location, desert conditions, oil production, farming, and other economically necessary activities contributes to the air contaminants.
Another aspect to consider is the data itself. While it is interesting to compare California to the rest of the nation, the more valuable comparison is analyzing the pollution data from the state’s past. There is a lot of sunshine in those statistics!
For example, 20-year study focused on Los Angles finds that millennial children breathe easier than youngsters who came of age in the ’90s because or reduced pollutant levels.
…Combined exposure to two harmful pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter of diameter under 2.5 microns (PM2.5) fell approximately 40 percent for the third cohort of 2007-11 compared to the first cohort of 1994-98. The study followed children from Long Beach, Mira Loma, Riverside, San Dimas and Upland.
Children’s lungs grew faster as air quality improved. Lung growth from age 11 to 15 was more than 10 percent greater for children breathing the lower levels of NO2 from 2007 to 2011 compared to those breathing higher levels from 1994-98.
There has also been a substantial reduction of pollutants in Bakersfield as well.
…But the authority tasked with addressing the region’s air quality issues, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, does not seem too concerned, suggesting it has done just about all it can to alleviate the problem.
“Over the last 25 years, air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley – from the stationary sources we regulate – has been reduced by over 80% with some of the toughest air regulations in place anywhere in the nation,” says Seyed Sadredin, the air district’s executive director.
The final point to make, and one which I hope our bureaucrats weigh seriously, is that there is not need for excessive, new regulations since the current ones are working. There has been an exodus from California, which was once a dream-destination for Americans. Another six-in-ten number makes this point:
An analysis of Census Bureau data by the Sacramento Bee shows that between 2005 and 2015 800,000 working-class Californians on net left for other states. Twenty percent of this net working-class outflow — 156,000 — went to one state in particular: Texas. Meanwhile, new data from the Census Bureau show that six of the 10 fastest-growing counties in the United States are in Texas or Utah; none are in California.
Furthermore, long-term unemployment shortens lifespans more thoroughly than the pollutant du jour. Political pollution in this state is already toxic enough without using dramatic news reports to guide environmental policy.