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US Air Pollution Monitoring Network Falling Into Disrepair – GAO Report

“BOSTON/NEW YORK – The U.S. air pollution monitoring network has fallen into disrepair after years of budget cuts and neglect, leaving tens of millions of Americans vulnerable to undetected bad air quality from events like wildfires to industrial pollution, the investigative arm of Congress said on Monday.

The conclusions from a 2-1/2-year audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirm key findings in a Reuters special report published last week that detailed broad failures in the air-pollution monitoring system, whose data guides U.S. regulatory policy and informs the public about health risks.

Federal funding for the air monitoring network, which is overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and operated and maintained by state and local environmental agencies, has declined by about 20% since 2004, after adjusting for inflation, leaving it in poor condition, according to the GAO report viewed by Reuters.”

Tim McLaughlin, Laila Kearney, and Laura Sanicola report for Reuters December 7, 2020.