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


March 16, 2010

Contact:
Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102

Events Nationwide Draw Attention to Smog
Sierra Club Holds National Clean Air Day


Washington, DC: From Virginia to California, Sierra Club activists are holding dozens of events today to support the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to to strengthen smog safeguards under the Clean Air Act. With a 40 year track record of successfully reducing pollution while allowing economic growth, the latest Clean Air Act proposal will bring significant reductions in dangerous smog, which comes from sources like coal-fired power plants and automobiles.

Today's events include rallies at coal plants, scavenger hunts identifying the smoggiest places, thank-you gifts for metro riders, Clean Air Olympics with black smoke bubble contests and more. With participation from the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Black and Hispanic Youth Caucuses, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet just to name a few, the events show the widespread support for clean air.

Clean air is not just an environmental issue; it's also a health issue, an economic issue and an environmental justice issue. Everyone deserves clean air.

"The new smog limits EPA is proposing will help us all breathe a little easier. They will promote more transportation choices - from transit to safe biking and walking and better planning to reduce congestion," said Ann Mesnikoff, director of the Sierra Club's Green Transportation program.

"The new safeguards will also help clean up one of our dirtiest energy sources--coal plants," added Mary Anne Hitt, deputy director of the Beyond Coal Campaign. "Nearly half of our coal fleet began operating at least 50 years ago, and many of these coal plants lack modern pollution controls."

EPA's proposal calls for the primary limit for ozone, or smog, to be lowered to between 60 and 70 parts per billion-within the range that doctors and scientists say is protective of human health. The agency is also proposing to lower the secondary limit, which helps to lessen environmental problems like haze.

The Sierra Club is urging EPA to set the standards at the more protective limits for both the primary and secondary standards because doing so will do the most to protect public health and help ensure that our natural places, and the economies that rely on them are protected.

The agency is taking public comment on the proposed rule until March 22nd.

For more on the proposed rule and today's events visit: www.sieraclub.org/bigpicture

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