New, proposed ozone standards by the Environmental Protection Agency would be a major victory for public health groups but it could also throw hundreds of counties out of compliance. The Obama administration is expected to propose tougher limits on smog.
According to the L.A. Times, “The current limit for ground-level ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog, is 75 parts per billion. Concluding that the limit is too weak to protect people’s health, Environmental Protection Agency staff and its science advisors had recommended strengthening the federal standard to 60 to 70 parts per billion.”
The EPA is seeking to increase the federal standard to 65-70 parts per billion and also seeking public comment on the new standards. Environmentalists would like to see the stringent standard of 60 parts per billion whereas businesses would like to keep the existing standards of 75 parts per billion.
The EPA believes that it is necessary to toughen limits on ozone pollution now although it may not be popular to do so with the new Republican controlled Congress about to take office. One of the main reasons that the EPA created a new proposal is to protect Americans from a significant health threat.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement announcing the proposal, “We deserve to know the air we breath is safe.” McCarthy also cited the EPA’s legal mandate to “bring ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science,” the ozone’s damaging effects on children and the elderly while explaining what ground-level ozone is (a respiratory irritant that derives from fossil-fuel burning) and its links to asthmatic attacks and other ailments.
Big business like the oil industry and power companies say that the tighter ozone standard would damage the economy and would send manufacturing jobs overseas. Several Republicans are trying to find a way to thwart the new proposal because they believe that the current standard is healthy. The EPA maintains that the proposal is based on science and that they will listen to what scientists have told them about ozone pollutants and how to keep the air the public is breathing safe.
Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.