Money Matters - Simplified

EPA stiffens rules for smog

The EPA said with these new reductions people will breathe cleaner and much fresher air, and avoid asthma, bronchitis, and other smog-related symptoms

New York, January 8 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday proposed stricter limits for the amount of pollution-forming smog, tightening previous rules made by the Bush administration.

The rules, which have been changed only thrice in 40 years, will first undergo 60 days of public comment before becoming final.

The limits would not only improve quality of life but also reduce ozone in the air from 75 to 60 parts per billion (ppb).

New rules will ease smog related problems
The EPA said with these reductions people will breathe cleaner and much fresher air, and avoid asthma, bronchitis, and other smog-related symptoms.

“EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face. Smog in the air we breathe poses a very serious health threat, especially to children,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said.

“Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier,” she added.

Smog, which is an irritant for asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses, is formed when emissions from burning gasoline, power and factories mix.

Seeing the effects of such a move by EPA, it was immediately endorsed by all environmentalists.

However, the American Petroleum Institute (API) deferred and said, there was “no basis” for the EPA decision and it only meant “unnecessary energy cost increases, job losses and less domestic oil and natural gas development and energy security”.

Frank O'Donnell, president of the advocacy group Clean Air Watch, did not agree with the API and said, “Cleaning up pollution creates jobs rather than taking them away.” He also said the new rules would result in fewer premature deaths.

“If EPA follows through, it will mean significantly cleaner air and better health protection,” said O'Donnell.

300 counties in Calif. violating norms
According to EPA, 27 counties in North Carolina, including Forsyth and Davie, would exceed the proposed ozone limits. Forsyth and Davie already have level 82 ppb.

“We would be in violation of the standard,” said Robert Fulp, the director of the Forsyth's environmental-affairs department.

The new EPA limits are the right approach, Fulp added.

In Southern California, more than 300 counties are already violating the current requirements. But the new limits will take stronger measures and even reach places like the Napa Valley and Trego County.