Progress against acid rain, except in Adirondacks

A federal report shows significant progress in the battle against acid rain, except in the Adirondacks.

The National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program's report to Congress says there has been measurable improvement in air and water quality as well as human health nationwide due to reduced fossil fuel emissions from electric plants.

As of 2009, the reports says the emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides have dropped by about two-thirds from levels in the 1990's. As a result, the report claims there has been a drop in human health problems such as premature deaths, hospital admissions and emergency room visits.

The report notes, however, that full recovery for many lakes and rivers that are sensitive to acid rain is not likely, particularly in the Adirondack Mountain region of New York State. The report cited measurements taken in 2006 to 2008 which found 30 percent of the lakes in the Adirondacks were receiving excessive and damaging levels of acid rain.

Acid rain is the result of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions reacting with water and oxygen in the atmosphere.