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Our air might be cleaner than we think

This is a pleasant surprise.

Houston, once considered the nation’s capital of dirty air, is on the verge of meeting federal limits for smog for the first time.

If the numbers hold as the smog season draws to an end, the eight-county region will meet the limit for the lung-irritating pollutant by the narrowest of margins.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cautioned that the data is preliminary and will be scrutinized in the coming months. But at first blush, “the news is good,” EPA spokesman David Bary said.

It’s too early to declare victory – among other things, the margin by which we’ve achieved compliance is small and is due in part to things like weather conditions and the economic slowdown. But it’s still mighty nice, and it shows there’s no reason this can’t become the norm. Let’s hope this is the first of many such good reports.

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  1. Appetitus Rationi Pareat says:

    This is a 1997 standard. Thus, it only took us 12 years to meet the standard. Sorry if I’m not dancing in the street.

    Not only that, current science shows that the 1997 is still not low enough to truly be healthy. More stringent standards are going to be enacted soon and it will probably take another 10+ years for this city to finally get its act together.

  2. This is only smog. There are other issues, and as Appetitus says, there are new rules coming. It’s great that smog is slowly coming down, but the headline is a little misleading. Actually, because we focus so much on smog, we may think the air is cleaner than it is.