Federal Ozone Soap Opera Continues

 EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has a young son with asthma. That’s one of the reasons she was such a passionate advocate for new, lower, tougher standards for ambient ozone pollution, or smog, before the rug got pulled out from under her by the President and his campaign advisers last month. In a newly released report that would have served as a preamble to a new 70 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standard in the Federal Register, Jackson and the EPA had formally concluded that the existing standard of 75 ppb endangered thousands of Americans, including people with existing respiratory ailments like her son. The Bush-era limit on ozone was “not adequate to protect public health,” and failed to take into account “newly available evidence,” according to the original EPA language. Such a report will be fodder for the new lawsuit filed by five environmental groups this week, which claims that the Administration’s retreat from Jackson’s recommendation was politically driven and not based on the best science. Meanwhile, because of the 2-year delay in setting a standard, chronic smog hotspots like DFW must now wait until close to the end of the decade to have any hope of getting safe and legal air to breathe.

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