- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson has announced the agency's new 8-hour national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone.
"America's air is cleaner today than it was a generation ago. By meeting the requirement of the Clean Air Act and strengthening the national standard for ozone, EPA is keeping our clean air progress moving forward," said Johnson.
The agency announced a reduction of the primary and secondary 8-hour ozone standard to 0.075 ppm from the old 0.080 ppm standard. Johnson noted that because of rounding, the standard had effectively been 0.084 ppm.
Early indications suggest that many communities will need to improve their control of ozone releases, as the number of counties in non-attainment has quadrupled. Of the 3,077 counties in the U.S., 345 will no longer be in attainment under the new standard.
The final standard, while tougher than its predecessor, could be a relief to industry, as it was at the high end of the range speculated by the EPA as late as last month, and much higher than the standard recommended by some scientists. A panel of independent experts in 2007 recommended a standard between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm.
The agency was under court order to provide a new standard by today.
In his announcement, Johnson also asked Congress to "allow decision-makers to consider benefits, costs, risk tradeoffs and feasibility in making decisions about how to clean the air."
The agency is required by rule to review the NAAQS every five years.
Visti http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/actions.html for more information.