Reversing Bush, EPA Proposes Strictest Ever Smog Standards


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Another encouraging development from the EPA today--the agency has just announced it is proposing the strictest ever standards for smog in the US. Smog, or ground level ozone, is responsible for a slew of serious health problems, especially for children, and can result in premature death. The new measure would actively reduce the amount of smog in urban areas around the US. According to the agency's statement, the

EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face. Smog in the air we breathe poses a very serious health threat ... It dirties our air, clouds our cities, and drives up our health care costs across the country," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier."
The move will help right the woeful smog standard set by the Bush administration, which experts say ignored the scientific recommendations. The proposal would set "a 'primary' standard, which protects public health, at a level between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million (ppm) measured over eight hours." Smog is most harmful to children, whose lungs are still developing, and to those with lung disease.

The New York Times explains the ramifications of the announcement:

The new limits -- which are presented as a range -- will likely put hundreds more counties nationwide in violation, a designation that will require them to find additional ways to clamp down on pollution or face government sanctions, most likely the loss of federal highway dollars.

The tighter standards will cost tens of billions of dollars to implement, but will ultimately save billions in avoided emergency room visits, premature deaths, and missed work and school days.

This is good news, and a long overdue development.

More on Smog and the EPA
Anniversary of Killer Smog Event That Sparked US Clean Air Act
Smog Could Cause 2.5°C+ Warming, Even With Strong Global Climate Change

Tags: Air Pollution | EPA | United States