EPA Applauded for Move to Restore Science in Protecting Americans from Ozone

September 16, 2009


Contact: Cal Baier-Anderson, (202) 572-3306-w, canderson@edf.org
Media Contact: Dan Cronin, (202) 572-3354-w, dcronin@edf.org 

(Washington, DC – September 16, 2009) Environmental Defense Fund applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) decision to review the adequacy of the controversial ozone national air quality standard issued under the Bush administration in 2008. Today, EPA committed to issue a new proposal by December 21, 2009 and to complete its review by August 2010.

In March 2008, the Bush EPA established an ozone health standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb), at a level substantially less protective than unanimously recommended by EPA’s panel of expert science advisors on the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). CASAC recommended the standard be set between 60-70 ppb. Further, in an unprecedented move, the Bush Administration’s regulatory czar ordered EPA scientists to scrap a separate science-based ozone standard to protect crops, forests, and other plants hard hit by ground-level ozone. 

“EPA’s commitment to protect human health from dangerous smog is a breath of fresh air,” said Cal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., a toxicologist with Environmental Defense Fund. “For millions of kids, smog can make it difficult to attend school, to play outside and to breathe on polluted day.”

The Clean Air Act requires that the EPA protect public health “with an adequate margin of safety” in establishing the nation’s air quality standards. In 2001, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that EPA was required to establish these standards based exclusively on the protection of public health.

EPA estimates that the suite of innovative technologies, processes and products that have been developed to meet the nation’s air quality standards and other Clean Air Act programs have not only delivered extraordinary results, but that the nation’s pollution control industry has thrived, generating over $200 billion in revenues and supporting more than 3 million jobs. The monetary benefits to society have outweighed the costs by a factor of more than 40 to 1.

The EPA’s notice to reconsider can be viewed at http://www.edf.org/documents/10412_EPA_Report_To_Court.pdf