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U.S. Cities with the Best & Worst Air Quality

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Where you live can make as big a difference as how green your home is. Your home may be LEED certified to the max but if you ever need to step outside you may want some decent air quality in the actual city.

Many places compile info about air quality, but some offer broad, not specific information. For a broad overview of your area take a look at...

24 least polluted areas in the U.S.
State of the Air allows you to look up your area including specific counties.
10 best and worst places for air quality.
100 Cities: The Best and Worst Air Quality

Air quality: You can check The AirData Website for access to air pollution data for the entire United States. You can learn about the highest ozone level measured in your state last year, where air pollution monitoring sites are located, sources of air pollution in your town, and more. If you’re looking for indoor air quality check out this EPA site.
post #2 of 11
Saw an interesting story on Yahoo News today about Portland - A federal building being refurbished to bring it to current standards and will have 250 foot tall trellises on it!s west wall.

That should be quite something to see when the vines have reached full height!  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100116/ap_on_re_us/us_green_building

They describe Portland weather exactly as İ remember it - From late December until mid June it either drizzles or pours with little sun and from mid June until late December it is dry with late summer being hot and sticky. When it does rain in the late summer or fall the roads can be like ice due to oil on the surface that does not get washed off - due to lack of rain!  

 
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
That's a pretty cool story. Oregon does some neat green things, but some of the plans Portland has makes you go hmmm? Like when I first moved up to the city there were tons of little used goods and thrift stores peppering the downtown area, but about five years later they tore all that out to build brand new hotels to support the tourists. I guess visitors liked it, but I was really bummed. I hate how this city has gotten SO populated in just the last 10 years. You used to be able to go walking downtown on a Sunday morning and it'd be peaceful, now there are crowds everywhere, no parking, etc. (Do I sound like a cranky old guy yet?!).

Anyhow, PDX does some great green things, especially lately, but they all seem to be on a grand scale like this building plan. Really though, little things help make a difference. Like cutting out thrift stores seems like a bad plan and taking out green spaces to build eco-houses - it doesn't really all balance out.
post #4 of 11
Thanks for the ammo for my fight against new coal plants in our state! No one seems convinced that there should be any concern about our air quality, but our county got an "F" which is not acceptable!
post #5 of 11
@srj0385 - you need to see what the new coal plant is replacing - the latest and greatest are really not that bad.

İf something older and dirtier is being shutdown it still may not be a bad deal.

Coal will be with us for many years to come. İt just needs to be doing as little damage as possible. 

A problem along the Mississippi is the total quantity of industry along with the ones who do not follow or bend the rules. 
post #6 of 11
Well... they aren't shutting down anything, Arkansas has plenty of power, but we are the only ones in the region that have lax enough laws to build these things, so we export to OK, LA, TX. We are building it in our backyard so they can have cheap power.

Our other problem is we asked them for the best technology, and they said it wasn't cost effective enough for a state like AR. Our Dept. Environmental Quality has turned them down twice because they started construction without air permits, and their initial proposal contained all the latest technology to calculate the pollution estimates while they are in fact using none of the new technology. They keep coming back trying to get into our wetlands, that's right, of all the places to put it, they are putting it smack in the middle of one of our pristine wetland areas!

I understand where you are coming from Russ, but Swepco basically told us, "yes we have new technology, but you guys don't deserve it." I know of a few old plants they are retrofitting, and I'm not as angry about that as this brand new facility with tech from the 50's.

It's tough here, we don't have many current options for new energy, not a lot of wind, not enough sun to be efficient except on small scale, and the other methods are pricey and questionable. It is hard to convince locals that it isn't our job to provide power to other states at the cost of our own land, air, and water.
post #7 of 11
The only way to deal with that type is to stick it to the bastards! Certain types of mentalities that İ just commented about in regards to Haiti and assistance are not limited to the NGO's. İt is (to me) basically the same person/mentality but in one instance on the inside while the in other instance they are on the outside. They will do what ever it takes - winning is the only point to them. Honor is what you read about in books as far as that type is concerned.

There is no reason at all (except cheap & stupid) not to use the latest and greatest - this plant should operate for at least 50 years to come. İt should be designed in a manner to allow future upgrades. Not all scrunched together where modifications are impossible.

İ suppose they want the wetlands as they are cheap or is it due to access to a river for transport? Conveyors for carrying coal are no big deal - 10 miles from the river (or even 20) is the same as next to it. Pipe type of conveyors can be used and spillage is virtually nothing. Of course, 10 miles from the river you would have to take more care with effluent - not so easy to hide leakage for them.

İf you have to put any bulk cargo on a truck then the company has a complaint - it is not practical or economical. Things like coal, iron ore etc need to be handled by conveyor. Materials handling can be clean.

The air pollution travels quite nicely maybe you can get other sates behind you - at least the ones to the east anyway. OK & TX certainly have room to put power plants - İ don't know much about LA. TX is such a mess that a little more pollution would go totally unnoticed!
post #8 of 11

Thanks for the ammo for my fight against new coal plants in our state! No one seems convinced that there should be any concern about our air quality, but our county got an "F" which is not acceptable!

post #9 of 11

@Russ.  I tried the link you posted but it was no longer valid.  Do you recall the species of vine that was selected to shade the building in Portland??  I ran into this thread doing research about western exposure.  I lost a 100 year old tree this winter that was my only source of shade on my house's west side. I hadn't thought about a vine to replace a tree, but most species of vines grow quicker than trees.  Does anyone else have any suggestion how to mitigate this problem for me?    I  am going to use a canopy over a the concrete patio to stop it from absorbing heat in the summer that I can take down in the winter when i want to capture every bit of heat I can.  Does anyone know anything about ez up?


Edited by Bambidoll - 5/4/11 at 8:34am
post #10 of 11

 

 

Russ wrote:

@srj0385 - you need to see what the new coal plant is replacing - the latest and greatest are really not that bad.

 

 

Good theory.. and I"m all for replacing the old and the dirty. Those were the best we had 30 or 40 years ago; now they don't look so good.

 

But the decisions we make now will be with us for the next 30 to 40 years. I don't want to replace a crappy old plant with a new plant that will look like a crazy waste of money in just 5 to 10 years. Hell, coal plants look like a waste of money NOW.

 

Every dollar spent on a coal plant is a dollar not spent on clean energy. We really can't afford that.

post #11 of 11

I grew up in the east, but moved west to explore. 

 

I currently live in LA - the weather is great.  So is the beach, which I often bike on during Saturday morning to Venice to watch the local farmer's market.

 

But the air quality and resultant health/emotions are horrid.  It makes me want to leave society and head to life in the wilderness!

 

Maybe I'll try SF or Portland first, though smile.gif

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