Louisville air quality is better than ever — unless it’s worse




LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) — A new report says the air we breathe is among the dirtiest in the country — but another says the air quality is better now than ever before.

It turns out both are correct.

On a bright beautiful day, it’s hard to believe Louisville is the 9th most polluted city in America.  Betsy Janes of the American Lung Association says, "Unfortunately, Jefferson County received a failing grade."  The Lung Association surveyed data from the Environmental Protection Agency and ranked cities by particle pollution and smog readings.

Thomas Nord of Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District admits it’s all a bit confusing:  "We’re in a river valley.  In the summertime, the air just kind of stagnates and it’s like a lid forms over us and then when you start putting organic compounds, engine exhaust, industrial fumes into that."

Earlier this week research from the University of Louisville said air quality was at an all time high here, but Nord says that report looked primarily for chemical pollution around Rubbertown:  "Day to day, it’s getting better, but we still have a lot of work to do."

But Janes points out, "What we’re suffering in Jefferson County is a result of the air coming from Indiana and other places."

Machines are sampling the air, sniffing, and testing at seven monitoring sites throughout Jefferson County.  The reports coincides with a 50-foot screen that LG&E’s building outside its coal sludge plant to protect neighbor homes from ash.  The company was recently fined $22,500 for its pollution problems in Louisville.

Resident Kathy Little says,  "I think that it’s a start.  I think that the fence is probably too little for what they’re trying to do."

Nord says it was more than LG&E that landed Louisville on the list, and it will take more than them to fix the problem: "It’s a constant struggle and battle and it takes a lot of cooperation between industry and people who want to drive a lot."

Ultimately ALA released the report to try and get people to lobby lawmakers on the Clean Air Act.  It says it’s constantly been under attack in Congress.  On Saturday, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation has planned a rally to call lawmakers at Russell Lee Park. CONTINUE READING…

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