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PNS Daily Newscast - December 15, 2017 


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Praise As EPA Goes Ahead With Ozone Rule

Smog causes hundreds of premature deaths nationally every year. (National Park Service)
Smog causes hundreds of premature deaths nationally every year. (National Park Service)
August 7, 2017

RICHMOND, Va -- Environmental and public health groups are breathing a sigh of relief that the Environmental Protection Agency will not postpone implementation of standards for smog-forming ozone.

In June, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced the standards would be put on hold for a year. A lawsuit challenging that decision was filed last week by a coalition of states and organizations. The postponement was rescinded the next day.

Graham McCahan, a senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, said the delay would have been unlawful.

"So this is a really welcome development that they have reversed course and we can begin getting these emission reductions in place as soon as possible,” McCahan said.

Pruitt argued that there was confusion among states over the standard, and that the EPA needed to review the regulations. But McCahan pointed out that the states already have collected the data and made their recommendations to the EPA for designating areas that need to improve air quality.

He said the delay decision had not considered the impact of smog on children, asthma sufferers, the elderly, and those with heart or respiratory problems.

"Now the ball is in EPA's court and they have a legal deadline of Oct. 1 to either accept those recommendations or tweak them. But, generally speaking, the EPA accepts the recommendations of the states,” McCahan said.

Meeting the standard will require reducing pollution from all sources, including cars, power plants, and factories. And, McCahan added, the states can't do it on their own.

"It's a cooperative framework under the Clean Air Act between the states and the federal government,” he explained. “And it's important that the federal government hold up its end of the bargain.”

According to EPA data, when fully implemented, the smog standard will prevent about 660 premature deaths, 230,000 childhood asthma attacks and 28,000d missed work days a year.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA