Update: May 23, 2022
Pollution & the West
It took 2 ½ years and a new administration in the White House for the EPA to decide in March to restore California’s ability to set its own air pollution limits for motor vehicle tailpipe emissions. The federal government granted this waiver more than 50 years ago, largely because California’s air was dramatically more polluted than the rest of the country; it revived the waiver on March 14 of this year.
It took two months for a coalition of 17 Republican state attorneys general to go to court seeking revocation of the waiver, again. The move comes shortly after the release of the American Lung Association’s annual report on air pollution across the country . California locations, particularly regions of the San Joaquin Valley around Fresno, Bakersfield and Visalia, still rank in the top five for regions plagued with ozone and long-lived particulate pollution.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia follow California’s lead in setting standards; the group represents almost 40 percent of the national auto market. The 17 states seeking to strip California of its independence in controlling tailpipe pollution are led by Ohio’s attorney general. They include Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Both Texas and Utah also had metropolitan areas ranking in the top 10 of areas most polluted by ozone: Houston in Texas and Salt Lake City in Utah.
Staff and Contributors
Syler Peralta-Ramos is a member of the Stanford class of 2020. He has lived in Wilson, Wyoming his whole life and developed a keen interest in nature photography and conservation from a young age, inspired by the multitude of photographers that congregate in the Teton region as well as his parents who also share a love for photography.
‘& the West’ is published by the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, which is dedicated to research, teaching, and journalism about the past, present, and future of the North American West.
Bruce E. Cain