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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

January 7, 2010

Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102

EPA Proposes New Air Standard, Protects Public Health

The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a new official limit on the amount of dangerous ozone, or smog, pollution in the air. Unlike its predecessor put in place by the Bush Administration, the new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) follows the recommendation of EPA scientists, the American Lung Association and numerous other health groups for protecting public health, setting the limit between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million (ppm).

Smog, one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution, comes from sources like coal-fired power plants and automobiles and is harmful to human health even at very low levels. Smog can cause a wide range of health problems, including asthma, permanent lung damage and even premature death. Scientists have compared exposure to smog pollution as getting sunburn on the lungs.

In response Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director issued the following statement.

"Today's announcement is a breath of fresh air. We applaud EPA for listening to health professionals and scientists, and proposing a rule that provides real protection for millions of people.

"Smog doesn’t just ruin your view; it poses serious health risks, especially to children and senior citizens. Study after study shows that to protect public health we need to significantly lower the amount of smog in our air-and that means cleaning up dirty coal plants and vehicle pollution.

"Coal plants are among the largest sources of smog-causing pollution; and with more than 500 plants currently operating in our country, many lacking modern pollution controls, it is our communities that are paying the costs in increased asthma attacks and other health problems.

"This rule will help ensure that all major sources of pollution get cleaned up; it will drive the need for cities and states to reduce the smog pollution spewing from vehicle tailpipes - investing in transportation choices that enable Americans to travel safely and efficiently without using their cars will be part of the solution."

"This is another indication that the Obama administration sees the big picture and is working hard to put safeguards in place to build the clean energy future."


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