Clean Air Act has led to improved water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The reduction of pollution emissions from power plants in the mid- Atlantic is making a good impact on the quality of the water that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. This is shown by a new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. These scientists confirm that as the amount of emissions of nitrogen oxide from coal- fired power plants have lessened in response to the Clean Air Act, the amount of nitrogen pollution found in the waterways of forested areas in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland fell as well. This study shows that improvements in air quality provided a lot of benefits to water quality that we were not counting on. This was said by Donald Boesch which is the president of the Univeristy of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. In the study, researchers evaluated long term water quality trends for nine watersheds located along the Appalachian Mountains for 23 years. According to the EPA, total human caused nitrogen oxide emissions declined 32% from 1997 to 2005 in 20 eastern states that participated in the program. This program was intended to lower the emissions that caused acid rain, but it also reduced the amount nitrogen oxide particles landing on forests in the sample area which ended up improving water quality. This is important because nitrogen accumulation is bad for air quality, human health, and the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Valerie Macaulay 2015

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