EPA tightens ozone standard

CarExhaustC1511_V_v_C_YThe Environmental Protection Agency ­tightened the ozone pollution standard from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion, a move the agency says will protect public health and leave only 14 counties out of compliance by 2025.

Ozone, a gas created when volatile organic compounds or nitrogen oxides mix with sunlight, can lead to smog formation. Any combustion source, including power plants, vehicles and industrial facilities emit nitrogen oxides.

“While NRECA believes EPA should have fully implemented the 2008 ozone standard before moving the goalpost with a tighter standard, we appreciate that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has publicly stated that the science didn’t support setting the standard lower than they did,” said Ted Cromwell, Senior NRECA Principal, Environmental Policy.

The EPA set the standard at the upper end of its Clean Air Science Advisory Committee’s range of 60 ppb to 70 ppb.

“My final decision to strengthen the standard for 70 ppb reflects my ­consideration of that advice and my obligation to weigh the science, including the uncertainties that remain,” McCarthy said in announcing the new standard Oct. 1.

The EPA estimates public health benefits of the updated standards will be $2.9 to $5.9 billion annually in 2025, and outweigh the estimated annual costs of $1.4 billion.

Source: Cathy Cash, Electric Co-op Today