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Cleaner air 

Each year, the American Lung Association ranks the air quality of the country's largest metro areas. And this year's State of the Air Report has good news for Monroe County. | The county received an A grade for ground-level ozone, and a B for short-term particle pollution. The report, which is based on averages from 2009 to 2011, says the county had no days with high ozone levels and less than one day when short-term particle pollution was a problem. | Four years ago, Monroe County received an F on ozone pollution and a C on short-term particle pollution. Both of the pollutants are the result of burning fossil fuels, particularly coal and diesel gasoline. And they can pose risks to people with respiratory or cardiovascular problems. | The Lung Association says that, nationally, particle pollution is down because of cleaner diesel formulas and advances in engine technology. It's likely that local residents also benefit from RG&E's decision to shut down the coal-fired Russell Station power plant in 2008. | Michael Seilback, vice president of public policy and communications for the Lung Association's Northeast office, says the same factors would contribute to a decrease in ozone. He says actions that decrease one air pollutant often decrease others, too.

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