Tampa Bay Florida's Second-Smoggiest Area

Smog press conference
Environment Florida's Paul Rolfe holds air pollution report
TAMPA (2011-9-21) -

An environmental group has named Tampa Bay as the second-smoggiest metro area in Florida. The study comes on the heels of a retreat by the Obama Administration on toughening clean air standards.

The report by Environment Florida shows that people in the Tampa Bay area were exposed to more bad air days than any other place in the state, except Pensacola. It comes on the heels of two straight days of high ozone advisories last week, when anyone with respiratory problems - and the very old and young - were told to stay indoors.

The federal EPA was set to toughen clean air standards, which would have increased the number of ozone advisory days to eight days during the past year. Paul Rolfe is with Environment Florida.

"But rather than acting decisively to protect our kids from dangerous air pollution," Rolfe said at a press conference at Tampa's Ballast Point Park, "President Obama chose to kick the can down the road and abandon any strengthening of this standard until 2013. Florida's kids, senior citizens and those with respiratory problems will suffer as a consequence of the president's decision."

Critics of toughening regulation say it could lead to job losses in places such as electric utilities, which generate most of the air pollution in Florida.

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