An alarming announcement just crossed our desks: “The National Weather Service is proposing to terminate operational ozone predictions on or about March 5, 2013.”
We have until Monday, November 26th to tell the Weather Service NOT to let this site go dark.
The National Weather Service measures and predicts ozone levels, so that people across the country, in cities, village, and on farms, know when we are going to have poor air quality days, how bad they will be and how long they will last. It gives us hour by hour information on air quality. It is used by various weather wire services that feed television and newspapers their information, and by emergency managers of weather information. Parents across the country use this kind of information to know when the air is dangerous for our children, so they shouldn’t go outside to play.
Additionally, there is a possibility that the entire site–which includes advisories on smoke and dust, and was slated to include fine particles and sulfates from coal–may be taken down.
The service is of enormous benefit to public health. And we’ve already paid for the development of the NWS ozone guidance system. The cost of keeping the system going is relatively minor. The public announcement explains that the cut is “due to the current fiscal environment.”
Moms Clean Air Force has a better idea: the fossil fuel companies responsible for ozone pollution are making record profits of billions of dollars. They can start funding the ozone prediction service. But until that happens, this is exactly the kind of government service we rely on to protect our children’s health. There 7 million children in this country with asthma. Doctors tell parents that air pollution makes asthma worse. Ozone also triggers other breathing difficulties, stroke, and is bad for our hearts.
Please join us in telling the NWS that they cannot let the site go dark. The comment period should be extended so that more of us have a chance to save this system.