North Dakota named clean air state by American Lung Association

The American Lung Association’s (ALA) “State of the Air” 2021 Annual Report gave 10 North Dakota counties “A” grades for lack of ozone, also known as smog.

The counties include Billings, Burke, Burleigh, Cass, Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Oliver, Ward, and Williams. Mercer County is home to Basin Electric coal-based power plants Antelope Valley Station and Leland Olds Station, as well as Basin Electric subsidiary Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant. McKenzie and Williams counties are home to Basin Electric gas-powered generation facilities Lonesome Creek Generation Station and Pioneer Generation Station.

State of the Air is the ALA's annual national air quality report card. It uses the most recent air pollution data, compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for the two most widespread types of pollution—ozone (smog) and particle pollution. The report grades counties and ranks cities and counties based on their scores for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution levels. See the full report.

North Dakota is only one of 17 states that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal ambient air quality standards, according to the Lignite Energy Council.