Climate change worsening air pollution in Missoula, other MT areas

Climate change worsening air pollution in Missoula, other MT areas

SOURCE: Missoulian DATE: April 25, 2019 SNIP: The Missoula area has been named the 11th most-polluted city in the United States for annual particle pollution, and the fifth-most polluted for short-term air quality, according to a report from the American Lung Association. The organization’s annual State of the Air “report card” tracks exposure to particle pollution, both on a yearly basis and when it spikes during wildfires. Missoula County had its most short-term particle pollution days ever recorded between 2015 and 2017, with a weighted average of 16.5 days. That’s more than twice the number of days recorded between 2014 and 2016. Many of these spikes were directly linked to events like wildfires, which are increasing in frequency and intensity in many areas due to climate change, according to Carrie Nyssen, senior director for advocacy for the American Lung Association in Montana. “Missoula residents should know that we’re breathing unhealthy air, driven by wildfires as a result of climate change, placing our health and lives at risk,” said Nyssen in a statement. “Across the state, many areas have seen their air quality worsen dramatically. We have to do more to protect people’s lives and public health.” The 2017 Montana Climate Assessment found that human-caused climate change will cause precipitation in the state to decrease during the summer months by the middle of this century while increasing average temperatures and hampering the ability of forests to rebound from fire. Montana regulators recently gave final approval to a 70 million-ton expansion of a southeastern Montana coal mine that supplies fuel for the coal-fired Colstrip power generating station, one of the largest...
Big oil asks government to protect it from climate change

Big oil asks government to protect it from climate change

SOURCE: AP DATE: August 22, 2018 SNIP: As the nation plans new defenses against the more powerful storms and higher tides expected from climate change, one project stands out: an ambitious proposal to build a nearly 60-mile “spine” of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast. Like other oceanfront projects, this one would protect homes, delicate ecosystems and vital infrastructure, but it also has another priority — to shield some of the crown jewels of the petroleum industry, which is blamed for contributing to global warming and now wants the federal government to build safeguards against the consequences of it. The plan is focused on a stretch of coastline that runs from the Louisiana border to industrial enclaves south of Houston that are home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of petrochemical facilities, including most of Texas’ 30 refineries, which represent 30 percent of the nation’s refining capacity. Texas is seeking at least $12 billion for the full coastal spine, with nearly all of it coming from public funds. Last month, the government fast-tracked an initial $3.9 billion for three separate, smaller storm barrier projects that would specifically protect oil facilities. But the idea of taxpayers around the country paying to protect refineries worth billions, and in a state where top politicians still dispute climate change’s validity, doesn’t sit well with some. “The oil and gas industry is getting a free ride,” said Brandt Mannchen, a member of the Sierra Club’s executive committee in Houston. “You don’t hear the industry making a peep about paying for any of this and why...