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Air quality could worsen quickly should fuel economy standards freeze

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Cuyahoga County residents could see increase in health impacts like asthma, bronchitis, and respiratory infections

 – The quality of the air you breathe in Cuyahoga County could take a significant hit should a federal government plan to roll-back vehicle emissions standards take effect. According to a recent NOACA analysis, if President Trump’s plan to freeze fuel economy standards is implemented, an additional 1.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide could be released into the County each year by 2040. In the process of releasing carbon dioxide, dangerous pollutants such as fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides are released into the air.

The cumulative effect of this increase is the equivalent to adding over 4 million additional cars to our roads, or powering 4.7 coal-burning power plants for one (1) year. The increase equates to burning over 2.1 billion gallons of gasoline.

The total cost to Cuyahoga County residents could equate to $971.8 million in social costs like health care, flooding, changes in agricultural activity, additional demand for air conditioning, and more.

“Government policy should rationally help stabilize the health, welfare and prosperity for all Americans,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “President Trump’s roll back of fuel efficiency standards and last week’s announcement allowing states to increase emissions of carbon dioxide are exactly the wrong measures this country needs to prevent climate change from continuing to harm the planet.”

“This is a huge issue for residents of Cuyahoga County and the nation in general,” said Mike Foley, Director of Cuyahoga County’s Department of Sustainability. “The county needs to fight greenhouse gas emissions not increase them. President Trump’s policies are harming my kids’ and every child’s future by policies like these.”

Poor air quality affects everyone; however, some individuals are particularly sensitive to air pollutants, including children and adults who are active outdoors, the elderly, and those with chronic respiratory diseases. Pollution can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma

NOACA’s latest Air Quality Trends Report summarizes the most current data on air quality in Northeast Ohio. The report shows that increased carbon dioxide levels are contributing to climate change.

“Air quality has improved greatly in recent years as we have cleaned-up much of the industrial air pollution of yesteryear,” said NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci. “Now transportation is the primary driver of the region’s air quality issues,” she continued.

NOACA believes the most effective means of improving air quality is for all citizens to meet their transportation needs with a variety of modes, rather than relying solely on car use. NOACA encourages residents to visit www.GohioCommute.com to plan their next trip and see ALL their options for commuting.