In October 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) improved America's national air quality standard for ground-level ozone—more commonly known as smog.
Smog is a dangerous air pollutant that is linked to premature deaths, asthma attacks and other serious heart and lung diseases.
EPA improved our national smog standard from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. That was the least protective end of the range recommended by the EPA's independent scientific advisors and the nation's leading health and medical societies. They had recommended a standard of 60 to 70 parts per billion. In spite of that, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt delayed implementing the standards.
The first step in implementing the 2015 smog standard is to identify the areas that have unhealthy pollution levels – formally known as finalizing the initial area designations. EPA faced a legal deadline of October 1, 2017 to take that step – but it missed the deadline. EPA finalized a portion of designations, for areas meeting the standard in November 2017. In December, 2017, a coalition of public health, environmental, and community groups – including EDF – filed a lawsuit to compel EPA to carry out his duties under the law and fully implement the smog standard.
In March, 2018, a U.S. District Court ordered the agency to move forward with implementation of these life-saving protections to reduce smog. By July, EPA had designated areas across the country that were meeting or exceeding our health-based smog standards. EDF will keep working to make sure EPA takes the next steps necessary to protect all Americans from smog.
Smog press releases and resources
Testimony of EDF Scientist Elena Craft in front of the House, Science, Space and Technology Committee [PDF]
June 21, 2018
EDF Comments on EPA Response to the Designation Recommendation from Texas for the San Antonio Area for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards [PDF]
April 30, 2018
Court orders EPA to move forward with implementation of life-saving protections to reduce smog
March 12, 2018
EDF calls on EPA to protect Americans from smog by quickly finalizing area designations
February 7, 2018
- EPA withdraws unlawful attempt to delay the implementation of America's health-based smog standards
August 2, 2018
EDF and others motion to vacate delay of standards [PDF]
July 12, 2017
EDF and others petition for review delay of standards [PDF]
July 12, 2017
EPA Revises Smog Standard – Statement of EDF
October 1, 2015
Strong, Science-Based Ozone Air Quality Standard Urgently Needed
September 27, 2015
California Needs Stronger Health Protections from Smog – EDF
February 2, 2015
EDF Experts Testify About the Need for Stronger Health Protections from Smog
January 29, 2015
EDF at Senate Subcommittee Hearing: Strengthened Smog Standards Urgently Needed to Protect Human Health and the Environment
December 17, 2014
EPA Announces Public Health Standards to Protect Americans from Smog
November 26, 2014