Clean Air Trust Refuses CEI Challenge to Debate State of Air Quality in U.S.

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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273


Washington, D.C., June 6, 2003—When the Clean Air Trust recently named Competitive Enterprise Institute Adjunct Scholar Joel Schwartz “villain of the month” for criticizing the American Lung Association’s (ALA) misleading annual report on air quality in the U.S., CEI challenged the Trust to debate the report’s claims in a public forum.  Surprisingly, the group has refused to defend its action.


“The Clean Air Trust’s executive director told me he did not understand the methodological issues well enough to debate the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />ALA report,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.  “How then can he know that Schwartz’s critique of the report is villainy rather than sound science?” 


According to the ALA’s most recent “State of the Air” report, almost half of the U.S. population lives in areas with dangerous levels of ozone, despite the fact that air pollution has been declining for decades.  ALA was able to make this claim only by faking the numbers. For example, even though over 99 percent of people in San Diego County breathe air that meets all EPA ozone health standards, ALA assigned an “F” grade to the whole county based on elevated ozone readings at a single rural monitoring site. ALA similarly faked the numbers for dozens of other counties, scaring tens of millions of Americans who breathe clean air into thinking their air is dangerous. 


In conferring the “villain” award, the Clean Air Trust did not attempt to refute any of the substance of Schwartz’s critique.  The American Lung Association also declined an invitation from CEI to debate the merits of its report.


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