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Bill Eaker
Senior Environmental Planner

Air Quality

Air quality became a significant issue in our region in the mid-90s. Air quality management agencies alerted community officials that air quality was declining and action needed to be taken to reverse this trend. Four major air quality issues were identified including:

  • Ground Level Ozone Pollution – has health impacts especially for those with respiratory diseases and also harms many species of native vegetation.
  • Fine Particulates – high concentrations of microscopic particles can damage lungs and cardiovascular systems.
  • Haze – very fine particles scatter sunlight and create a whitish man-made haze that reduces visibility in our mountains especially in the summertime during peak tourist season.
  • Acid Deposition – acid rain, clouds and fog and dry deposition of acidic compounds impair vegetation and native trout streams especially in high elevation areas.

Over the past 20 years the Asheville region has come close to violating the federal air quality standards (ground level ozone pollution) designed to protect public health. However, local, state and federal agencies and the private sector have all taken action to reduce emissions from power plants, industries, motor vehicles and other sources. Primary air quality management agencies serving our region include the NC Division of Air Quality and the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency. Air quality has improved over the past ten years and we need to continue our collective efforts as we grow our population and economy. Several Land of Sky Regional Council programs help to improve air quality and information can be found at the pages for the Clean Air Campaign, Clean Vehicles Coalition, EvolveEnergy Partnership, Waste Reduction Partners, Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (AFIT), Planting the Seeds for a Robust WNC Biofuels Sector, and Clean Energy Development Roadmap for the Southeast.
Contact Bill Eaker for information or assistance.

Clean Air Campaign
Website - cleanaircampaign clean air logo

This regional campaign is focused on educating the public and community leaders about air pollution and actions everyone can take to improve air quality in Asheville, NC and the surrounding region.

Established in 1998 to increase public awareness of Air Quality Issues. The Campaign is coordinated by a Steering Committee with representatives from a dozen partnering organizations representing government, business and industry, and the academic, health and environmental communities.

GOAL: Reduce Air pollution in the French Broad River Valley through increased public awareness and participation. The Campaign focuses on making citizens more aware of our air quality problems and of what they can do to help solve these problems through reduced driving and energy conservation.

The Clean Air Campaign funding sources since 1998 include NC Division of Air Quality, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Progress Energy, NC Department of Transportation and Partner In-kind contributions

Four Air Quality Issues:

  • Ground Level Ozone Pollution
  • Fine Particulates
  • Haze
  • Acid Deposition

Message – Conserve Energy at home, work, and school; Drive Less; and Cleaner Vehicles

Delivery of Message – Educational materials, website, presentations, email notices, ozone season kickoff and press conference, educational displays, etc.

State of Our Air Briefing 2020
October 30, 2020

  • Welcome and Introductions – Bill Eaker, Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) 
  • A Smarter and Cleaner Energy Future for WNC – Jason Walls, District Manager for WNC, Duke Energy
  • State and Federal Air Quality Issues Update – Mike Abraczinskas, Director, NC Division of Air Quality, NC DEQ 
  • Local Agency Air Quality Update (Air Quality Conditions/Trends in Buncombe County) – Ashley Featherstone, Director, WNC Regional Air Quality Agency
  • Air Quality Forecasting in the Mountains (Overview, Process, Recent changes) – Elliot Tardif, Meteorologist, NC Division of Air Quality, NC DEQ
  • Cost Effective Actions to Reduce Energy Demand and Emissions - Sophie Mullinax, Project Manager, Blue Horizons Project 
  • Efforts to Reduce Emissions from Motor Vehicles in the Region – Bill Eaker, Coordinator, Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition, LOSRC
  • Presentation Slide Deck

    Sponsors: Regional Clean Air Campaign, N.C. Division of Air Quality, WNC Regional Air Quality Agency, Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition
    Thanks to Buncombe County Government TV for their support!

    Would you like to donate to the Clean Air Campaign?