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What 50 Years of Clean Air Looks Like

Wisconsin Celebrates Clean Air Month this May

Wisconsin celebrates 50 years of clean air in 2020. - Photo credit: DNR
Wisconsin celebrates 50 years of clean air in 2020.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Craig Czarnecki, DNR Air Program Outreach Coordinator, 608-250-0945
May 15, 2020 at 10:28:18 am

MADISON, Wis. - When you take a breath outside in Wisconsin, you are breathing the cleanest air the state has seen in 50 years. Not only is May Clean Air Month, this year is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act.

Passed in 1970, the Clean Air Act is a landmark piece of environmental legislation largely responsible for the quality of the air we breathe today. Since its enactment 50 years ago, the combined emissions of six common pollutants have fallen by 73%. The Clean Air Act is one of the most comprehensive air quality laws in the world. The act has achieved tremendous reductions in air pollution, protecting public health and saving lives, while allowing for economic growth and development.

To help educate the public on where ozone pollution comes from, what the Department of Natural Resources is doing to regulate ozone, and what Wisconsinites can do to help the air we breath, the DNR released Committed to Clean Air: Ozone Pollution on YouTube. The video completes the Air Program's three-part video series. Videos Committed to Clean Air and Committed to Clean Air: Particle Pollution are available on DNR's YouTube channel. The Air Program is also featured in the "Earth Day at 50" issue of Natural Resources magazine.

"Clean Air Month gives DNR the opportunity to shine a light on the accomplishments the state's air has seen. Fifty years ago today, the air was nowhere near as clean or clear as it is today," said Gail Good, the DNR's Air Program Director. "Today's positive air quality story is a direct result of a combination of federal regulation, state enforcement and action, and voluntary actions by businesses and citizens."

The DNR is responsible for ensuring the regulations in the Clean Air Act are followed throughout the state. The Air Program continuously works at this process and improving the quality, consistency and efficiency of the air permitting and compliance process, air quality planning and monitoring as well as communications. Program efforts also address climate change and implement Governor Tony Evers' Executive Order #52, which calls for the development of strategies to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Recent Air Program efforts include:

Visit DNR's Clean Air Month webpage for links to resources and more information.

Last Revised: Friday, May 15, 2020

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