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Environment

Groups Seek Deadline For Ozone Standards

by Glenn Hess
August 15, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 33

A coalition of health and environmental groups is asking a federal appeals court to set an immediate deadline for EPA to decide whether to strengthen clean air standards for ground-level ozone, the main component of urban smog. The request comes after EPA announced its fourth delay of action on the standards on July 29. The agency says it will issue a final rule once the White House Office of Management & Budget completes a regulatory review. “Delaying stronger standards means more death and suffering from dangerous smog pollution,” says David Baron, an attorney with the law firm Earthjustice. Industry groups, such as the American Chemistry Council, contend that stricter standards are unnecessary and will damage the economy by making it more difficult for companies to obtain air permits. The George W. Bush Administration in 2008 set the national ambient air quality standards for ozone at 0.075 ppm, averaged over eight hours. Under the Obama Administration, EPA has said it plans to establish tighter standards for ozone somewhere between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm, as recommended by its scientific advisers.

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