EPA to Host an Ozone Hearing in Arlington, TX, and You’re Invited

Source: WikiCommons/Turn685

Smog over Dallas Skyline Source: WikiCommons/Turn685

This Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will hold hearings across the country on the proposed updates to our national smog (ground-level ozone) standards from their current level of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 to 70 ppb. Exacerbated by the combustion of fossil-fuel power plants and car exhaust, ground-level ozone is the single most widespread air pollutant in the United States and is linked to severe respiratory health outcomes. For an industrious and populous state like Texas, ozone poses a great threat to public health. In Texas, the hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. local time at Arlington City Hall.

Does the proposal go far enough?

While EDF supports EPA’s proposal to strengthen these critical health protections, we believe that going even further, to 60 ppb, would provide the strongest protections for Americans and would be in line with what leading medical associations like the American Lung Association recommend.

What is the issue?

Smog is a dangerous air pollutant that is linked to premature deaths, asthma attacks, and other serious heart and lung diseases. It is estimated that more than 140 million people live in areas with unhealthy levels of smog pollution and Texas is home to several counties with the worst ozone pollution in the nation. The very air we breathe is putting us at risk for adverse health outcomes such as premature deaths, increased asthma attacks and other severe respiratory illnesses, as well as increased emergency room and hospital admissions.

How can we get there?

America has decades of experience innovating to clean up the air in a highly cost-effective manner and can do so again to reduce smog pollution. From the Tier 3 tailpipe standards to the proposed Clean Power Plan, which would set the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the air across the country is becoming cleaner, showing us that we can have healthy air and a strong economy.  In Houston, for example, we estimate that ozone in the region is declining each year thanks to important air regulations such as the Cross State Air Pollution Rule and Clean Car Standards.

If Texas expects to attract the best and brightest in talent and to earn a reputation of a vibrant, healthy city, the state must demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment, including embracing public health protections. As the energy capital of the country, Texas has proven time-and-time again that it has the ingenuity to innovate and thrive economically without sacrificing one of our most precious resources, clean air.

What can you do?

Attend EPA’s hearing and voice your support for strong clean air standards. A strong smog standard will help ensure Americans know whether the air they are breathing is safe and drive much-needed pollution reductions. Our communities, our families, and our children are counting on EPA’s leadership in setting a strong ground-level ozone standard. Sign up to tell EPA that you support clean air across the country!

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One Comment

  1. Eddie Young
    Posted February 5, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    I wish you will take action on this very important issue. This issue effects hundreds of thousands of peoples health and I don't think that should be traded for a few dollars.