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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Report: CT counties rank poorly for air quality

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Thursday, May 2, 2024   

Several Connecticut counties rank poorly in the latest State of the Air report by the American Lung Association.

Four counties measured for ozone pollution received failing grades while three others got C's. The rankings stem from transportation emissions, the state's largest contributor to greenhouse gases.

Ruth Canovi, Connecticut advocacy director for the American Lung Association, said ozone pollution comes with serious health effects.

"I've had doctors explain it as almost like a sunburn on the lung," Canovi recounted. "It really causes irritation. High ozone levels can be linked to chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing, cardiovascular issues so heart issues, worsening of already existing asthma."

There are ways for the General Assembly to tackle air quality issues. Bills related to climate change and renewable energy can help reduce ozone pollution and poor air quality. Canovi noted the Environmental Protection Agency's new clean truck standards can reduce nationwide emissions by up to 60% by 2032 and prevent 1 billion metric tons of carbon pollution.

Connecticut's air quality has improved since the report was first released, although it remains above safe levels. While there have been certain legislative challenges, Canovi pointed out other issues are hampering clean air improvement efforts.

"Climate change really is hindering our ability to clean up our air," Canovi emphasized. "In Connecticut, like I mentioned, that ozone piece, hotter and sunnier days create more ozone."

This report used data from 2020 through 2022. Canovi is eager to see next year's report since it will incorporate data from the months when Canadian wildfire smoke inundated East Coast states.


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