EPA caves to industry again delaying a new health standard for ozone

July 26, 2011-by John Blair, valleywatch.net editor.

In another disappointment for American health advocates, the Obama Administration has again delayed finalizing a new more protective standard for ozone in ambient air. Ironically, EPA has posted yet another Ozone Alert for the SW indiana region for tomorrow.

Originally, USEPA had agreed to issue the new standard by the end of 2010 and then delayed it until March of this year but when that deadline came around, they delayed it agin until July 29 but today issued a statement saying that it would have to delay the rule past the court agreed deadline.

EPA continues to insist it will issue the new standard that will be more protective of human health but when the rule was given to the Office of Management and Budget for their analysis, industry opposition to a new standard seems to win out with administrations, old and new.

In 2008, under George W. Bush, EPA issued a standard of 75 parts per billion after its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) had recommended that standard be lowered to a level between 60 PPB and 70 PPB. that was the first time EPA had ever issued a standard weaker than what the  CASAC had recommended.

When several states and health groups threatened court action to have the standard improved, EPA, under the leadership of its new administrator, Lisa Jackson said they would revisit the standard. That was in early 2009. To date, the standard remains at the higher level of 75.

Industry, including some of the largest of America’s polluters, claim the proposed standard would be too costly as they seek to dismiss scientific evidence that improving the standard would help prevent more than 12,000 deaths $100 billion in health related costs.

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