In an annual report, the Environmental Protection Agency stated that smog levels have dramatically dropped for 19 Eastern states covering roughly 1/3 of the nation's population. The reduction is primarily due to fewer emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from industrial plants and manufacturing facilities. According to the report, NOx emissions went from 1.2 million tons in 2000 to 530,000 tons in 2005. Other major sources of NOx are vehicle exhaust, gas vapors and chemical solvents.

In 1998, the Clinton administration implemented a market-style pollutant credit trading system for the 19 states which was expanded under the Bush administration. EPA administrator Stephen Johnson said that under the market system, the large, most problematic facilities were the first ones to install new pollution control equipment.

The dramatic results seen here for reduced levels of NOx are particularly promising for California's new bill that aims do the same for greenhouse gas emissions which employs a similar credit trading system.

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[Source: Associated Press via MSNBC]

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