Air pollution

Reality checking Trump's comments on clean air

President Trump speaks with reporters.
Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

President Trump and his top officials touted in a speech Monday how America's air pollution has decreased 74% since 1970, citing data from the Environmental Protection Agency due out next week.

Reality check: That's true, but most of those reductions occurred long before Trump was in office. Since Trump entered the White House, the little data available show that some kinds of air pollution have plateaued, while a few have even increased, according to a preview of the report EPA posted Monday.

Air quality worsens during Trump presidency

Low air quality in New York City
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Air quality in the U.S. has declined over the past 2 years since President Trump took office, reports AP.

The big picture: The EPA is expected to issue emissions regulations for coal-fired power plants on Wednesday that are more modest than an Obama-era rule that never took effect — the latest Trump administration move to loosen environmental rules. Trump previously said the U.S. has "the cleanest air in the world," and touted that it has improved throughout his presidency. Wildfires contribute to poor air quality, and the West Coast has seen 2 major seasons in 2017 and 2018, AP found.