air pollution

The places with the most severe air pollution nearly 40 years ago remain among the most polluted places today, according to a new study that uses historical air pollution data to track disparities in air quality over time.

Decades of research and the lived experiences of millions of Americans have established that people in the United States do not have equal access to clean air, and that poor people and people of color are more likely to breathe polluted air than their fellow citizens who are white or rich.

Toby Talbot / AP Images

Maine is joining a coalition of 15 states in setting aggressive new goals to increase the number of electric trucks and buses on the region's roads. The states agreed this week to ensure that within a decade 30 percent of all new medium and heavy-duty vehicles sold in their jurisdictions are electric vehicles, and that 100 percent of those new sales be zero-emission only by the year 2050.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Atmospheric and oceanographic scientists are just as concerned as anyone about helping their friends and family, the nation and the world make it through the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is also their job to pay attention to a kind of grand experiment that's underway — an unprecedented hiatus in human pressure on global ecosystems and what that hiatus could mean on the ground, and on the water, for Maine.

Friends of Acadia

For years, Maine has been part of a regional effort to reduce ozone pollution in the air that exacerbates asthma and has been linked to other health problems. Now, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection wants to adopt less stringent standards and move most of Maine out of the Ozone Transport Region.

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It seems that whenever warm temperatures and muggy weather return to Maine, air quality warnings follow. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) often issues air quality alerts and warnings when the temperatures increase, advising those with respiratory problems to stay indoors and take other precautions. So far in 2018, the Maine DEP has issued two air quality warnings. In 2017, they issued six.

Officials are warning of poor air quality in parts of Maine and New Hampshire.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory and an air quality alert with temperatures projected to climb to 90 degrees with high humidity on Monday in southern Maine.

The air quality alert affects coastal Maine from Kittery to Acadia National Park, and is due to expire late Monday.

The weather service recommends that people limit prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion by taking breaks, seeking shade and keeping hydrated.

 Maine environmentalists celebrated Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling that upheld an Environmental Protection Agency rule aimed at protecting states from the air pollution generated in neighboring states. Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says the rule promises "staggeringly large benefits to our air quality."    Voorhees says the E-P-A estimates the rule will translate to 280-billion-dollars worth of health benefits per year.  It also predicts 34,000 premature deaths could be avoided by this rule.