Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Study Estimates Clean Air Act Has Saved 1.5 Billion Birds


December 4, 2020

A great blue heron seen wading in front of an oil refinery. Burning and producing fossil fuels are major sources of air pollution. A new study estimates that over the last four decades environmental regulations aimed at improving air quality have saved the lives of some 1.5 billion birds across the United States. (Gerrit Vyn / Courtesy of the Cornell Ornithology Lab)

Over the past 40 years, the improved air quality demanded by the United States' Clean Air Act saved the lives of roughly 1.5 billion birds across the country, according to a study published last week in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That whopping total equates to roughly one fifth of all birds fluttering in U.S. skies today, reports Sara Tabin for Forbes.

"Our research shows that the benefits of environmental regulation have likely been underestimated," says Ivan Rudik, an economist at Cornell University and co-author of the study, in a statement. "Reducing pollution has positive impacts in unexpected places and provides an additional policy lever for conservation efforts."

Rudik and his colleagues delved into the relationship between bird populations and air pollution by comparing bird observations recorded using the citizen science program eBird with measurements of ground-level air pollution and the policies aimed at limiting harmful emissions.


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