By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to lower the ozone pollution standard limits to between 65 and 70 parts per billion rather than the current 75 parts per billion. The EPA contends that the stricter standard is needed to address asthma and other respiratory problems it associates with exposure to ground-level ozone, also known as smog. While there are many sources for these pollutants, stationary sources, including utilities, factories and refineries, could be a primary target.
If the rule is finalized, the deadlines for implementation would be staggered over many years based on whether a region is already complying with the current rule or still struggling to meet the 1997 standard of 84 parts per billion. Subject to EPA oversight, states and local municipalities would decide which pollution control methods to pursue to bring their region into compliance.
The EPA estimates that costs to comply with the standard by 2025 would range from $3–$15 billion with a public-health benefit of between $6.4–$19 billion.
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