Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449
New Smog Standards, EPA Gathers Public Input
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding three public hearings this week to gather comments on the agency's new proposed ozone, or smog, standard. The proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) follows the recommendation of EPA scientists and numerous health groups, setting the limit between 60 and 70 parts per billion (ppb).
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. Scientists have compared exposure to smog pollution as getting sunburn on the lungs.
The hearings will take place in Arlington, Virginia and Houston, Texas on February 2nd, and in Sacramento, California on February 4th. Visit www.sierraclub.org/bigpicture for details on the hearings and on local press events at each site, including rallies and press conferences. Follow all of the hearings on Twitter using the #O3hearing hashtag.
Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
"We are pleased to see EPA examining this issue and proposing real protections from smog pollution. We applaud the agency for listening to health professionals and scientists and proposing new smog limits that will actually help improve public health, not only companies' bottom lines.
"We know that smog is one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution, causing health problems even at low levels. That’s why we urge the EPA to set the standard at the more protective limit of 60 parts per billion. This level will do the most to protect public health, especially for those suffering from illnesses like asthma.
"Likewise we urge the agency to set a protective secondary limit, aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of smog, at the lower level of 7 ppm-hours to help ensure that our natural places and the economies that rely on them are protected.
"This rule is yet another piece of the big picture that the Obama administration continues to put together. It is clear that the administration is working hard to put safeguards in place to protect our health and build the clean energy future."