Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sues new ozone rules

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MATTHEW DALY

The U.S. gov­ern­ment set a new ozone stan­dard Thurs­day, tight­en­ing lim­its on the smog-form­ing pol­lu­tion linked to asthma and res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness.

The U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency said the new stan­dard of 70 parts per bil­lion will re­duce ex­po­sure to dan­ger­ous ozone pol­lu­tion and pre­vent thou­sands of asthma at­tacks, emer­gency room vis­its and even pre­ma­ture deaths.

The new stan­dard is be­low the cur­rent stan­dard of 75 parts per bil­lion but at the high end of a range an­nounced by the EPA last fall.

The move ful­fills a long-de­layed cam­paign prom­ise by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, but sets up a fresh con­fronta­tion with op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers al­ready an­gry about the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plans to curb car­bon pol­lu­tion from coal-fired power plants and reg­u­late small streams and wet­lands.

Busi­ness groups said a new ozone stan­dard is un­nec­es­sary and could jeop­ar­dize jobs.

En­vi­ron­men­tal and public health groups also were un­happy. They said the new stan­dard was a step in the right di­rec­tion but did not go far enough.

EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gina McCarthy said her job is to set science- backed stan­dards that pro­tect the health of peo­ple.

“Put sim­ply, ozone pol­lu­tion means it hurts to breathe for those most vul­ner­a­ble: our kids, our el­derly and those suf­fer­ing from heart and lung ail­ments,” McCarthy said. “To­day’s ac­tion is one of the most im­por­tant mea­sures we can take for im­prov­ing public health, re­duc­ing the costs of ill­ness and pro­tect­ing our chil­dren’s health.”

Harold Wim­mer, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion, said the new stan­dard “sim­ply does not re­flect what the science shows is nec­es­sary to truly pro­tect public health.”

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