EPA Move to Monitor Roadway Air Pollution May Have Broad Planning Impacts

With evidence on the harmful health impacts of vehicle emissions increasing, the EPA will begin monitoring pollution levels adjacent to freeways in Los Angeles and more than 100 of America's biggest cities. Experts say the action is long overdue.

"Though tens of millions of people nationwide live within a few hundred feet of a major road, monitoring stations established to measure common air pollutants typically have been placed away from such thoroughfares and other obvious sources of contamination," writes Tony Barboza. But new EPA rules requiring the monitoring of air pollution within 160 feet of major roadways is catching up to two decades of scientific research on the adverse health impacts of living near freeways.

"The new monitoring is likely to have broad implications," adds Barboza. "If, as expected, the new data show higher pollution levels, environmental organizations and neighborhood activists almost certainly will call for local officials to take more aggressive steps to reduce emissions and curtail residential development near freeways."

"'We will do everything possible to make sure people who live near those roadways get the protections they're entitled to,' said Angela Johnson Meszaros, an attorney for Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, one of several advocacy groups that sued the EPA last year to force it to require fine-particle pollution monitoring near Southern California freeways."

"Air quality regulators are now moving in that direction."

Full Story: Air board will start monitoring pollution next to SoCal freeways

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