Cough

Trump loves to say US air quality is getting cleaner and cleaner thanks to him. Is he right?

Pfffffffff. Of course not.

Over the last two years the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data shows. While it remains unclear whether this is the beginning of a trend, health experts say it’s troubling to see air quality progress stagnate.

There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.

Some of that has to be because of the summer wildfires problem, I would think.

Air quality is affected by a complex mix of factors, both natural and man-made. Federal regulations that limit the emissions of certain chemicals and soot from factories, cars and trucks have helped dramatically improve air quality over recent decades. In any given year, however, air quality can be affected by natural variations. That may be what’s behind the stalled progress, scientists say.

Scientists say that it is too early to see the effects of changes in environmental policy of the Trump administration, which took office in January 2017.

But they say looser restrictions and lax enforcement would almost certainly reverse the gains that have been made in recent decades, potentially turning what has so far been a modest, two-year backslide into a dangerous trend.

In an email, the EPA told The Associated Press the increase in unhealthy air days in 2017 “is largely associated with wildfires” in the west and it is studying 2018 before officially announcing its annual air trend data.

Air pollution experts agree wildfires likely have had a role, along with random variation, a stronger economy which leads to more consumption of fuels, and a changing climate. Higher temperatures increase the chances for fires and smog.

But moves to deregulate industries that pollute do not make the air cleaner.

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