This week is National Air Quality Awareness Week –– oops I almost missed it — the one week out of the year when the CDC and the EPA join forces to spread propaganda about air pollution and blame it on us. It’s a week dedicated to hammering home their message in the media that air pollution is caused by vehicular emissions while leaving out emissions from coal-fired power plants, oil & gas development, chemical factories, and all other industrial air pollution. It’s our fault because we drive too much. It’s not the government’s responsibility to do anything about air pollution, it’s our responsibility to stay indoors — or stop breathing.
In western Garfield County every day is air quality awareness week. Living in the gaspatch we learn to pay attention to the air quality, or we suffer for it. For example, outdoor exercise like walking, jogging, or biking early in the morning when the VOC concentrations are at their highest levels can make you sick for the rest of the day. Probably from all the traffic on the freeway during the night.
Because whatever it is that’s making us sick, according to the experts it doesn’t have anything to do with air quality. Last week Garfield County and the Post Independent got an early jump on the propaganda band wagon by declaring, Air quality continues to improve in county:
Garfield County continues to see a decline in air pollutants and airborne chemical compounds, based on data collected through the county’s air quality monitoring program during 2014.
“It’s all good news, I would say, and in every sense things are dropping,” said Cassie Archuleta, project scientist with Air Resource Specialists of Fort Collins, which has been measuring and compiling ambient air quality data for the county since 2008 …
No matter how much you cough and wheeze, no matter how many bloody noses you get, or how many weeks you’ve had that upper respiratory infection, just hearing those words in that order “in every sense things are dropping” should make you feel better. Who needs science?
Apparently not the scientists at Air Resource Specialists, a private company that is being paid, along with CSU, by Garfield County and the oil & gas industry to conduct the ongoing Garfield County Air Quality Emissions Study.
This week the county trotted out Zac Sutherland with the Bieber buff, who I mistook for a high school student writing an Op-Ed for extra credit until I read at the end he’s “an environmental health specialist with Garfield County Public Health.” In his info-ganda piece cleverly titled Ways to drive improved air quality, he told us we drive too much in our broken down old cars. He claimed we can reduce air pollution if we buy new cars and trucks and even better yet hybrid electric vehicles. If things start dropping too much at the county, he definitely has a future in new car sales. But he should stay in school and get his diploma.
Evidently Sutherland and Archuleta missed the Garfield County FLIR Tour last month. Good news for them there’s still room on the magic bus and it leaves anytime. Just click here for a journey to the center of the truth about air quality and toxic emissions in Garfield County. It’s an eye-opening experience.
The American Lung Association is also participating in Air Quality Awareness Week with their website State of the Air 2015, where they actually address the question that the CDC and the EPA avoid like the truth: Where Does Ozone Come From?
The essential raw ingredients for ozone come from nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, also called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO). They are produced primarily when fossil fuels like gasoline, oil or coal are burned or when some chemicals, like solvents, evaporate. NOx is emitted from power plants, motor vehicles and other sources of high-heat combustion. VOCs are emitted from motor vehicles, chemical plants, refineries, factories, gas stations, paint and other sources.
The American Lung Association must not be funded by the oil & gas industry because they took some heat for having the audacity to rank Denver the 13th worst city in the nation for ozone pollution in their annual survey. An article in The Denver Post reported that CDPHE air division spokesman Christopher Dann criticized the survey in a prepared statement: “It is both inaccurate and misrepresents air quality in Colorado. We also maintain a robust air pollution monitoring network and have added several monitoring sites in recent years.”
Take that American Lung Association. Colorado monitors the hell out of the air. The state has made a science out of studying air flow patterns so they can position those air monitors out of the way of VOC emissions from oil & gas sites and facilities. Denver can’t possibly be registering bad air quality readings. The CDPHE has solved that problem with air quality monitors.
What’s the State of Your Air? is a pretty cool feature on the front page of the State of the Air website. Enter your zip code in the box and you can learn more about the air quality where you live. So I entered 81652, Silt’s zip code. A box appeared with the ominous message: “If you live in Garfield County, the air you breathe needs your support.” Uh-oh. Even worse, GarCo gets a “D” inside an orange circle. The orange circle means “unhealthy for sensitive populations” — meaning “humans.” I guess the D is just for emphasis – like, really unhealthy.
You can also check the air quality where you live at the EPA website AirNow. Just enter your zip code in the box at the top of the page under “Local Air Quality Conditions.” When I entered 81652, lo and behold in the data provided to the EPA by the CDPHE, our air quality came up smelling like spring – green, green, green.
So, who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?