The EPA proposal – to change the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion to a range of 65-70 – is now online at http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/actions.html#nov2014
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 Like the agency’s science advisers, EPA recognizes that keeping the current, outdated, standard would be irresponsible.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.