BY BOB HOLT
Environmental Protection Agency air quality monitors measure the amount of dangerous pollutants from cars, trucks and buses that are in the atmosphere, as part of the Clean Air Act.
On top of the Bridegate controversy, it turns out a nearby monitor was not working during a few days of the George Washington Bridge lane closures.
New Jersey’s branch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility asked the EPA to review the matter. NJ Spotlight reported that an EPA letter stated that the monitors were operated in accordance with the agency’s rules and the air quality did not go beyond recognized pollution health standards.
According to NJ.com, Larry Ragonese of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said the air monitor went offline for two days because there was a problem with a wireless router that had to be reset manually. Ragonese also noted that the monitor was located in Jersey City, and was too far from the GWB to measure its air quality properly.
Wolfenotes.com reported that on hotter summer days automobile pollutants form ozone, and are not detected by the DEP’s air monitoring equipment. Also, it may not have mattered that the Jersey City air monitoring equipment was inoperable, because there is a closer monitoring station in Fort Lee. That one is not listed in the network on the NJDEP website.
The monitor might have been down because its particulate readings were more than twice the level of the others, according to PEER. “This extended outage masked the health effects on those stuck on the bridge enduring hours of exhaust from idling vehicles,’’ said PEER director Bill Wolfe, according to NJ Spotlight. “This act literally added injury to insult.’’