The Grades Are In For North Dakota’s Air Quality

(April 30, 2014)

BISMARCK, ND -- North Dakota’s grades for air quality were released today in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report.  The report covers a three year period from 2010 to 2012, analyzing data collected at air quality monitors in eight of the state’s 53 counties and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Grades are determined by the number or air quality alerts for ozone or particle pollution that occurred during those three years.  Billings, Burke, Burleigh, Cass, Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer and Oliver counties were given an “A” grade for ozone pollution, and six of the eight counties earned an “A” grade for particle pollution.  Dunn and Oliver counties earned “incomplete” marks on particle pollution due to insufficient data.  The full report can be found at StateOfTheAir.org.

Ozone and particle pollution can trigger asthma attacks, put people at higher risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and are a particular health concern for people with preexisting lung disease, the very young and the elderly.

Officials with the regional chapter of the American Lung Association noted that pollution levels can vary widely in a region as large as North Dakota, and air pollutants don’t always stay where they originate. 

“It’s a mistake to presume there is no air pollution in the state, or to suggest that coal-fired power plants, natural gas flaring and the increased road traffic and rapid development associated with oil and gas production in western North Dakota are not contributing to air pollution here and in the region,” said Robert Moffitt, communications director for the American Lung Association in North Dakota.  “Our geography, our weather and our relatively small population all play a factor in the quality of our air.”

Moffitt encouraged North Dakotans to continue to explore cleaner, more renewable forms of energy and transportation fuels, such as biofuels and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas. 

The North Dakota Clean Cities coalition is offering a series of free workshops on natural gas vehicles in Moorhead, Mandan and Minot this week. See link for details.

2014 SOTA