The Environmental Protection Agency released finalized regulations on ground-level ozone on October 1. This pollutant is the main ingredient in smog. The new guidelines will tighten the ozone standard from 75 parts per million (ppm), set by the George W. Bush administration, to 70 ppm. Environmentalists and public health officials wanted a stricter standard in the range of 60-65 ppm, which is what the EPA proposed in its draft last year. On the other hand, industry groups and fossil fuel generators have criticized the rule, saying it is “duplicative, costly, and unnecessary.”
The EPA’s finalized ozone rule managed to please almost no one. David Baron, managing attorney for Earthjustice, told reporters on September 28 that his organization would most likely sue the EPA if the standard was set to 70 ppm. “Setting the standard at 70 parts per billion would be nothing short of betrayal of the Clean Air Act’s promise,” Baron said.
The new ruling is predicted to have less impact on the utility sector than on the manufacturing and automobile industries. This is because the dirtiest of the nation’s coal plants have already been forced offline or installed pollution scrubbing equipment due to the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The EPA also released a map outlining every county in the United States that is not compliant with a 70 ppm ozone standard.
In short, many are unhappy with this new ruling, and it will be interesting to see what happens. To read more, click here.