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Published April 24, 2013, 10:27 AM

Lung Association: Dakotas among best in clean air

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two cities in the Dakotas are among the top four in the nation when it comes to clean air, according to an American Lung Association report released Wednesday.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two cities in the Dakotas are among the top four in the nation when it comes to clean air, according to an American Lung Association report released Wednesday.

Bismarck, N.D., and Rapid City, S.D., join the Florida metro areas of Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville in being the cleanest when it comes to ozone and fine particles, the association said in its 2013 State of the Air Report.

Ozone is a leading component of smog and comes from vehicle exhaust and solvents. Fine particle pollution comes from burning things such as coal and wood and can cause haze.

Sioux Falls, S.D., also was recognized for having no days with unhealthy levels of ozone during the three-year period covered by the report, 2009-2011.

Nort Johnson, president of the Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association private tourism group, said Rapid City's high marks don't surprise him.

"It's one of those things we maybe don't think about that really makes our corner of the world special," he said.

However, association spokesman Robert Moffitt said in a statement that the report might not reflect changes caused by the recent oil boom in western North Dakota, and that changes might be far-reaching.

"Air pollution is a regional problem that does not respect borders or boundaries," he said. "As we sometimes have problems with smoke from fires in Montana or Canada, likewise the pollution we create in North Dakota can end up in neighboring states. It's an issue we all need to work together to solve."

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