Acid pollution in rain decreased with reduction in emissions

Emissions regulations do have an environmental impact, according to a long-term study of acidic rainfall by researchers at the University of Illinois.

The National Atmospheric Deposition Program collects rainfall samples weekly from more than 250 stations across the United States and analyzes them for pollutants. The program recently released a report detailing trends in acidic rainfall frequency and concentration over 25 years, from 1984 to 2009.

“This is the longest-term, widest-scale precipitation pollution study in the U.S. In particular, we wanted to see how the trends in the pollution and the rain correlated back to emissions regulations,” said Christopher Lehmann, a researcher in the program…”We’re seeing regulations on emissions sources having direct and positive impact to reduce pollutants in rain.”

The phenomenon commonly known as “acid rain” has widespread effects not only on the ecosystem, but also on infrastructure and the economy. Polluted precipitation adversely affects forestry, fishing, agriculture and other industries. Acid also erodes structures, damaging buildings, roads and bridges.

According to the report, acidic precipitation – rain or snowfall with a pH value of 5.0 or less – decreased in both frequency and concentration over the 25-year span.

The researchers largely attribute the decrease to the amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990 regulating emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, the gases that become sulfuric and nitric acid when mixed with rain water…

“You want to make sure that the regulations you put in place are effective, that they do what they were designed to do,” said David Gay, the coordinator of the deposition program. “…This study shows clear, significant evidence of the direct impact of regulation.”

Overdue. The progress – not the regulation or studies confirming that progress.

Certainly, there should be checks to confirm the cause-and-effect relationships, confirming that remediation is working, confirming that the laws forcing a decrease in emissions are working.

Please, let’s don’t waste time kissing the butt of know-nothing, anti-science politicians and pundits. There are sufficient creeps around who continue to deny any responsibility for environmental degradation by corporate sleaze. No need to add to their credibility by offering them time and space on the public dime.

One thought on “Acid pollution in rain decreased with reduction in emissions

  1. moss says:

    I recall becoming aware of acid rain firsthand at the end of a mountain-walking weekend atop Mt. Marcy in NY state. Setting up camp beside the lake, I asked the ranger how was the fishing? He replied there weren’t fish in the lake anymore.

    The PH was skewed enough that fish had died off, driving away fish eaters like loons and many aquatic birds. The worst offenders were coal-fired electricity generators in the Midwest. And they whined as loudly as you would expect from any Republican pet capitalist.

    So, guess what? People succeeded in getting regulations passed over the copout politicans and profiteers – and no one went out of business. Air quality has improved, the fish are surviving, again. The whining still neve ceases – witness climate change know-nothings. But, competent businesses can adapt even when the people achieve a victory for quality of life.

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