Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ag Blamed for Pollution

Farm Air Quality Talks Get Underway Amidst New Pollution Findings
Mon May 4, 2009 5:25am EDT

By GreenBiz Staff

The EPA next week will convene an Agricultural Air Quality Task Force this week in the town that, according to a new study by the American Lung Association, is among the 10 most-polluted cities in the nation.

The Task Force will look into ways that farm operations can minimize air pollution and toxic emissions -- including how to use funding from a $10.9 million assistance package to help achieve those goals.

"This is a pivotal time for agriculture and air quality," says Ed Burton, State Conservationist of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in California. "The focus on energy and climate is creating more challenges -- and more opportunities -- for agriculture than ever before. At this meeting we will address technical issues associated with agriculture and forestry."

The full details of the report are online at StateOfTheAir.org. The findings of best and worst overall cities for air quality is as follows:

Ten Most Polluted U.S. Cities
1. Bakersfield, Calif.
2. Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.
3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif.
4. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
5. Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, Ala.
6. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif.
7. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
8. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
9. Detroit-Warren-Flint, Mich.
10. Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, Ohio

Ten Cleanest U.S. Cities
1. Cheyenne, Wyo.
2. Santa Fe-Espanola, N.M.
3. Honolulu, Hawaii
4. Great Falls, Mont.
4. Flagstaff, Ariz.
6. Farmington, N.M.
6. Anchorage, Alaska
8. Tucson, Ariz.
9. Bismarck, N.D.
9. Salinas, Calif.

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It seems somewhat hypocritical to blame agriculture for the problems of the worst polluted cities in this country when the cleanest cities have just as much agriculture around them. So why is it that ag gets the blame? Its because it easier to get the masses behind regulations that affect someone else. If they were to restrict automobile use, that wouldn’t go over well at all, but floating the idea to restrict tractor use, that might gain legs. Because of the small number of people involved in agriculture, we have to speak out that much louder when we are being unfairly targeted.

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