August 24, 2003


Excuse me, but wasn’t George W. Bush’s Texas meant to be the pollutiest place in the whole USA?

Turns out Texas is hands-down beaten for chokey air by liberal progressive California:

A national air pollution study found that Riverside, Calif., has the nation's worst air quality, with an average of 148 unhealthy air days a year.

The next four cities on the list were all in California: Fresno, Bakersfield, Los Angeles-Long Beach and Sacramento.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 24, 2003 11:43 PM

Tim, it doesn't matter what the actual results Are. The important thing is that in California, they care more.

Posted by: Jerry at August 25, 2003 at 12:27 AM

Houston's pollution level briefly surpassed the California cities' a few years back. This was mostly due to a change in weather (wind) patterns along the west coast. Now we're back to "normal".

Incidentally, when I read about air quality these days, it's almost always referring to ozone (though I assume there are other pollutants to worry about also). Here's an interesting article about ozone:

Posted by: Ricky at August 25, 2003 at 12:29 AM

b-b-b-but i'm sure all that pollutiness is part of the evil legacy left by governor ronald raygun, tim...yah, that's it.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 25, 2003 at 01:11 AM

I'm a native Texian. Our numbers are heavily skewed by the fact that the upper Texas Gulf Coast is home to one of the world's heaviest concentrations of petrochemical plants. When I was growing up, some of the plants still had machine gun towers that were erected to keep the Zeros away. I think it's safe to say that the phenomenon predates Shrub.

The bulk of the state is much cleaner, except when the miasmas from Mexico blow our way...

Posted by: Bruce at August 25, 2003 at 01:39 AM

In a state as large as Texas, you'll also tend to find greater variability than in most other states.

Of course, California is also very large, not quite as large in landmass but larger in population. So you'd expect both to have some of the dirtiest areas, and also some of the nicest.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at August 25, 2003 at 02:02 AM

I googled the reference to the survey, mainly 'cos one of the best beach parties I've ever been to was in Texas (Galvestonn island sand dunes '93, the air/enivornment was great and I'd hate think it gone bad).

But this survey was conducted by the American Lung Association. They're the bastards who, to quote from their own website, "...played a major role, for example, in the passage of the landmark federal Clean Air Act, as well as the law prohibiting smoking on domestic passenger airline flights."

Fuck. I fly a lot and it's a boring, exhilarating and nervewracking affair all at once.

Yet thanks to these pricks you're quoting, I can't fire up a ciggie to go with my vodka slimline once we've passed V1.

Posted by: Elitism For The People at August 25, 2003 at 04:22 AM

Riverside, Fresno, and Bakersfield?

Wow, I didn't realize that meth labs produced so much air pollution.

Posted by: Brendan at August 25, 2003 at 08:29 AM

Well, the dust storms in West Texas are still pretty bad, as far as getting brown powered stuff all over your car, home and in your lungs, and the drought did start while Bush was governor. Since Karl Rove is all-powerful enough to control the weather (or so it seems reading some other news sites and blogs), I suppose Bush can be blamed for that pollution as well...

Posted by: John at August 25, 2003 at 01:47 PM

The important thing is that in California, they care more

What kind of moronic statement is this?
To tell you the truth, California is home to more self-absorbed hypocrites per capita than the remaining totality of the U.S.

Posted by: wallace at August 25, 2003 at 03:14 PM

Wallace, Jerry was making a joke there - pretty funny too!

Posted by: Jimmy Antley at August 25, 2003 at 03:51 PM

Ricky is right. The last several years, Houston and LA have been neck-and-neck regarding air quality. The competition has been amazingly close, with one or the other winning by just a couple of parts-per-billion of ozone - an almost unmeasurable difference! This year, California had a hot and stagnant July, so unless Texas comes up with some really nasty weather, California wins by a mile!

Marc Valdez
Air Quality Meteorologist AND Candidate for California Governor

Posted by: Marc Valdez at August 25, 2003 at 04:58 PM

FWIW. During the 2000 campaign I saw a claim that Houston had cleaner air than Paris. Sorry, don't recall where. It is the case that the recent Bush adminstration decision to tighten standards on diesel emissions will give the US much stronger controls than Europe.

Posted by: Jim Miller at August 26, 2003 at 07:27 AM

A lot of these Southern California cities sit inside valleys. The air does not circulate, because the mountains block the air flow. So the smog just sits there. And of course, it hardly ever rains, either, which doesn't help matters. So the dirty air problem has more to do with geography than politics or anything else.

Posted by: Tim Shell at August 26, 2003 at 09:40 AM

I lived in Riverside for a brief period (#1 on this years pollution list) and wouldn't reccomend it to anyone, unless you're just DYING to know what a green sunset looks like.

Posted by: Sean at August 26, 2003 at 09:46 AM