Air quality in Minnesota: 2009 report to the Legislature

Cover: Air Quality in Minnesota: 2009 report to the Legislature

This 2009 legislative report explores the trends in emissions and concentrations of air pollutants in Minnesota and highlights concerns such as climate change, emissions of non-stationary sources and cumulative potential effects of air toxics. In addition, it provides an update on MPCA programs and strategies introduced in the MPCA’s 2007 Air Quality Legislative Report.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is required to report to the Minnesota Legislature every two years on the status of toxic air contaminants and to analyze the MPCA’s strategies to reduce air pollutants (Minn. Stat. 115D.15 and 116.925). The MPCA uses this report as an opportunity to present the most pressing outdoor air quality issues facing Minnesota and to explore the opportunities available for emission reductions.

Minnesota and the MPCA have had success in decreasing the emissions and concentrations of many traditional air pollutants since the Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970. Emissions from large facilities have decreased dramatically, resulting in lower concentrations of many pollutants including fine particles, ozone and air toxics.

However, better understanding and management of the health and environmental effects of exposure to multiple pollutants and sources as well as newer challenges such as climate change is needed to further improve the impact of air pollution on Minnesotans’ quality of life.