From our standpoint, disappointing is probably too mild a term. The big polluters won this time, for the most part.
EPA has taken a baby step, when what was really needed is a giant stride to protect people’s health from dirty air. It is really a missed opportunity.
EPA’s own analysis underscores that thousands of people will die prematurely because of this weak, polluter-friendly approach. Many others will be left vulnerable to asthma attacks, hospital emergency room visits and days missed from school and work. Not the best outcome, to put it mildly.
Indeed, EPA’s own science advisers warned that an ozone standard of 70 would be too weak http://www.cleanairwatch.org/2015/09/is-smog-standard-of-70-really-good.html .
No matter how the EPA tries to spin it, this is truly a blemish on the President’s environmental legacy.
Despite this defeat, clean air defenders will now wearily trudge to Capitol Hill, with a deep sense of irony, to defend against any attempts by polluters to weaken the Clean Air Act. Because the law itself is fine. What’s wrong here is its timid enforcement by people entrusted to carry it out faithfully.