Clean Air Watch

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Why the US Chamber of Commerce is Wrong about Smog in National Parks

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ramping up its campaign to derail more health-protective national smog standards. Get ready for lots of hyperbole and misleading propaganda!  

The Chamber, which has opposed clean air controls for many years, rolled out a new ditty claiming that under EPA's proposed new standards, a dozen national parks would be in violation -- as if to argue that the standards would be so strict that they could not be met because of naturally occurring conditions.
We took a look at this fanciful claim, and here's what we discovered:

Many national parks on this US Chamber’s list are great examples of why the revised ozone standard is needed so park visitors can breathe clean air. A number of these parks are heavily impacted by air pollution transported there from urban areas, and in several cases, oil & gas production.  In a few cases, the culprit might be forest fires, and the US EPA has a policy that permits exemptions in those situations.
Here are some details:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quick Reaction to EPA's Ozone Proposal

The EPA proposal – to change the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion to a range of 65-70 – is now online at

 Here are a few quick thoughts: 

All in all, this is a very positive step in the right direction even though it doesn’t go as far as health and environmental groups would like.  We will press during hearings and the public comment period for an even tougher standard, towards the low end of the range urged by EPA’s science advisers. (They called for  a range as low as 60.)  Obviously, this action is long overdue. Like the agency’s science advisers, EPA recognizes that keeping the current, outdated, standard would be irresponsible.  The public does deserve to know if the outdoor air is dangerous. Keeping the current standard would flunk a truth in advertising test.  

Smog is the most widespread and insidious form of air pollution.  It’s not just a question of sniffles or runny eyes – it’s literally something that can send people to the emergency room or to an early grave.  Setting a tough new smog standard would really help cement President Obama’s environmental legacy.   

I would urge you to read not only EPA’s proposal but the summary of projected economic impacts.  It gives a lie to the flatulent industry claims that this would be the most expensive rule ever.  In addition to already adopted rules in the works (such as low-sulfur gasoline and the Tier 3 car standards) there are other options that can make cost-effective progress towards a tougher standard – for example, tougher standards for new big-rig trucks.  We do not need to choose between public health protection and a sound economy.  History has demonstrated that we can – and must – have both.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Public Supports Tougher Smog Standards: American Lung Assn. Survey

By a 2-1 margin, the public supports tougher smog standards -- even after hearing the arguments of opponents. 
We hope the political types and bean counters in the White House will take note -- and realize that permitting EPA to do its job -- and set better smog standards based on medical science -- is not only the right thing to do but is also supported by the public.

Here is the full survey:

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Learn more about the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation's air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. The last major change in the law, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, was enacted by Congress in 1990. Legislation passed since then has made several minor changes.