Friday, March 11, 2011

Walker Administration Will Stop Publishing Some Air Quality Information

The politicization of the DNR is off the charts - - literally - - as Wisconsin is now open for air pollution less publicized.  One of two notification systems - - the "watch," akin to weather "watches" that precede storm warnings, is being ended, says the agency in an email - - so if you have asthma, for example, you won't know the air conditions are favorable to constrict your breathing until you are already on your way to your desination.

Surprise!

Remember that Pat Stevens, a lawyer who worked for the road-builders, home-builders and the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce,  is now managing the agency's air quality section.

This is the email text sent Friday morning, and it comes on the heels of another cutback at the DNR to make business happy - - reducing OWI enforcement on snowmobilers in the North Woods:

From:
 
To:

As of March 15, 2011, the Wisconsin DNR will no longer issue Air Quality Watches for ozone and particle pollution due to limited staff resources and the potential increase in the number of air quality notices under proposed revisions to federal air standards.

In the past, an air quality watch was issued when conditions were favorable for pollutants to reach unhealthy levels.
Watches are also being eliminated due to their confusion with Air Quality Advisories which are issued when pollution concentrations actually reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups.

Air quality notices are issued as a public service by the DNR in partnership with the National Weather Service. They are not mandated by rule or law.

The DNR will continue to issue Air Quality Advisories when ozone and particle pollution levels are over or expected to reach the federal air quality standard.

To receive Air Quality Advisory notices, sign up at: http://www.dnr.wi.gov/air/newsletters.

Forecast information for seven Wisconsin cities is available at: AirNow - Wisconsin Air Quality and through subscription service with EnviroFlash.
Current air quality information is available at: DNR Air Monitoring: Today's Air Quality , Wisconsin Statewide Air Quality Notices, and the Air Quality Hotline at 1-866-324-5924 (1-866-DAILY AIR).

If you have questions, please contact Anne Bogar by email at anne.bogar@wisconsin.gov or by phone at (608) 266-3725.

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