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, according to a report by the investigative arm of Congress. Reuters:
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. The GAO report said some agencies have reported termite damage and leaky roofs at shelters housing sensitive but aging pollution monitoring equipment, and one state agency resorted to shopping on eBay to find used monitor parts because the manufacturer had stopped making them.