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EPA Announces Next Round of Clean Air Standards to Reduce Harmful Soot Pollution

WASHINGTON – In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health standard at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. By 2020, ninety-nine percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet revised health standard without any additional actions.

Today’s announcement has no effect on the existing daily standard for fine particles or the existing daily standard for coarse particles (PM10), which includes dust from farms and other sources), both of which remain unchanged.

“These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act. We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities, and families across the country will benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Read more: EPA Announces Next Round of Clean Air Standards to Reduce Harmful Soot Pollution

Smog Standard Proposal Released

epa logoEPA Strengthens Smog Standard/Proposed standards, strictest to date, will protect the health of all Americans, especially children

(Jan 8, 2010) - The United States Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health.

Read more: Smog Standard Proposal Released

All Options on the Table for Reducing Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec 2, 2009) – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today questioned whether the climate bills currently pending in the Senate represent the best approach for lowering greenhouse gas emissions, saying that all options, including a net zero carbon tax, deserve thorough consideration.

“The main argument for cap and trade is that it would create a new market in which economically efficient and environmentally compliant decisions could be made. Despite this, the House and Senate bills display a clear lack of faith in the ability of a ‘carbon market’ to function on its own,” Murkowski said. “If a given policy purports to reduce emissions, it should be allowed to do just that. Additional layers of bureaucratic regulation – which are duplicative, inefficient and counterproductive – should be taken off the table. And if a policy is not up to the task, either in theory or in practice, then we need to consider alternatives.”
Instead of continuing down the same path that has only increased division within the climate debate, Murkowski suggested that the Senate return to the drawing board.

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