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EPA forced to reverse decision on plans to delay ozone regulation

In a statement, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt claimed the EPA “believe’s in dialogue with, and being responsive to, our state partners.”

The reversal was announced late on Wednesday after 15 states and the District of Columbia sued the EPA in January this year, saying the delay exceeds the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act.

But despite the lawsuit being filed, in June, Pruitt sent a letter to the state governors saying he was “committed to working with states and local officials to effectively implement the ozone standard in a manner that is supportive of air quality improvement efforts without interfering with local decisions or impeding economic growth.”

From the Griffith Observatory in Southern California  the viewer gets a perfect look at the smog cov...

From the Griffith Observatory in Southern California, the viewer gets a perfect look at the smog covering Los Angeles like a blanket.
Kaname85 via YouTube

The 2015 ozone pollution regulation would lower the amount of allowable ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 ppm. This regulation reducing the acceptable levels of ozone is needed because studies have shown that while much improvement has been made in reducing air pollution in the U.S., there is still a long way to go.

In April 2017, the American Lung Association issued its yearly State of the Air report. A bit of good news accompanied the report, with twenty of the 25 cities with the worst ozone pollution reducing the number of high ozone days they experienced each year, improving over the previous report.

People at Risk In 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities 2017
1 Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
2 Bakersfield, CA
3 Fresno-Madera, CA
4 Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, CA
5 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
6 Modesto-Merced, CA
7 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
8 Sacramento-Roseville, CA
9 New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA
10 Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ
11 Denver-Aurora, CO
12 Houston-The Woodlands, TX
13 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK
14 El Centro, CA
15 Fort Collins, CO
16 El Paso-Las Cruces, TX-NM
17 Redding-Red Bluff, CA
18 San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
19 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
20 Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT
21 Hartford-West Hartford, CT
22 Baton Rouge, LA
22 Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD
24 Sheboygan, WI
25 Chico, CA
The study found that in 2017, more than 125 million Americans live in 204 counties where they breathe unhealthful levels of air pollution in the form of either ozone or short-term or year-round levels of particles. That is about one in three people. And air pollution is responsible for a myriad of health problems, from asthma to hearth disease.

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt sued to fight the standards in 2015, and according to reports, the EPA is still reviewing the rule and hoping to find a reason to change or better yet, repeal it. Reducing the ozone level requirements under the Clean Air Act by 5.0 ppm is a worthwhile endeavor, but Pruitt, along with the fossil fuel industry look at it as costly.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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