Today, the Obama Administration delayed for the fourth time in a year its decision on whether to strengthen clean air standards for ozone, the main component of urban smog. The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney, David Baron:
"This deplorable delay—the fourth so far—means more deaths and suffering throughout the nation from dangerous smog pollution. Millions of Americans are being denied the health protection that doctors say they need. The President needs to stop stalling and start protecting people's lungs as the law requires."
Ozone air pollution causes premature death, asthma attacks and other breathing problems. Ozone can send people to emergency rooms and hospitals due to lung distress. Children and senior citizens are at special risk. According to EPA estimates, stronger ozone standards could annually save up to 12,000 lives, prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks and hospital visits, and prevent hundreds of thousands of lost school and work days.
The current ozone standards, adopted by the Bush administration in 2008, were significantly weaker than recommended by lung doctors and the EPA's science advisors. Earthjustice sued to challenge these standards on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association and Appalachian Mountain Club. The case was put on hold when the Obama Administration said it would reconsider the standards.