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Could the nation’s airports be the next pressure points in the government shutdown? Also on our Monday rundown: Calls go out to improve food safety; and a new report renews calls for solutions to Detroit’s water woes.

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Ozone Rule Delay Brings Suit Against EPA

Reducing ozone will require new sources to use the best emissions-control technology. (Pixabay)
Reducing ozone will require new sources to use the best emissions-control technology. (Pixabay)
July 17, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A lawsuit filed last week in Washington, D.C., asks the federal courts to stop the Environmental Protection Agency's delay in implementing revised smog standards.

The EPA itself estimates that when communities meet the standards, it will save hundreds of lives and prevent 230,000 childhood asthma attacks and 160,000 missed school days each year.

Seth Johnson is an attorney with the environmental law group Earthjustice. He said states have submitted the required data on ozone levels, but the EPA now wants the delay.

"Every state in the country did what they were supposed to do,” Johnson said. "Now, it's time for EPA to do what it's supposed to do, and that is to issue designations under the statute and start the implementation process."

The EPA said it needs more time to review the standard and designate the areas that must clean up their air.

The groups now suing to stop the delay are concerned that the EPA intends to weaken the standard. Johnson said the standard was revised in 2015 in order to bring communities into compliance with the Clean Air Act.

"EPA's independent science advisers unanimously said that the 2008 standard was too weak to satisfy the statutory requirements,” he said.

Ozone is a corrosive greenhouse gas, and children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. But, Johnson added, it can harm healthy adults too. Once the standard is implemented, Johnson said, designated areas will be required to reduce ozone-forming pollution to bring their communities into compliance, beginning with new construction.

"If you want to build a new, big source of air pollution, you're going to have to use the most stringent emissions-reducing technology that's available,” Johnson said.

The groups joining the lawsuit include the American Lung Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Sierra Club.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV