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Report Finds N.H. Has Its Cleanest Air in Two Decades

The American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air report Wednesday, and New Hampshire is doing better than it has in two decades. 

Air quality in state has improved overall since last year’s report card. Jeff Underhill, a Chief Scientist with the state Environmental Services Air Resources Division, says that’s due to a handful of factors, including cleaner cars and pollution controls for power plants.

"Maybe one of the bigger drivers in recent years," says Underhill, "is that fact that fracking of natural gas lowered the price of natural gas so much, and we’re seeing a lot of industrial facilities and power plants switching to natural gas up wind of us."

There is some chance, Underhill says, that proposed EPA funding cuts could roll back pollution enforcement in the state. That could slow or reverse a lot of the progress they’ve made.

The state’s Air Resources Division plans to release its own detailed air quality report by summer of this year.

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire.
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