EPA Proposes Stricter Ground-Ozone Level Standards

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Six years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency set the acceptable level of ground-level ozone to 75 parts per billion. That level is about to come down.

The EPA is proposing a new acceptable level between 70 pbb and 65 pbb, and is accepting comments about dropping the level to 60 pbb. The proposal is in line with requirements by the Clean Air Act, mandating the agency review the standards every five years, and is meant to better improve air quality.

Per its analysis, the agency expects the new standard to provide “significantly better protection for children… and adults,” with as many as 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks, 750 to 4,300 premature deaths, and 65,000 to 180,000 missed workdays prevented. The economic benefits derived from the finalized standard and resulting health improvements would also outweigh any government investment:

These large health benefits will be gained from avoiding asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, among other health effects valued at $6.4 to $13 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $19 to $38 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 65 ppb. Annual costs are estimated at $3.9 billion in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $15 billion for a standard at 65 ppb.

The act would give states time to meet the new standards based on severity, with the worse expected to conform by 2020, to 2037 for lesser-affected areas. The final ozone standards are set to be finalized by October 1, 2015.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Haroldingpatrick Haroldingpatrick on Dec 04, 2014

    Let me preface this by saying i voted for Gary Johnson (libertarian) last time and believe that for the most part that this is America and consenting adults should live how they want to live. What's wrong with cleaner air regardless of the cost? I can't defend me and mine from pollution, but my government can and is doing so. Things are much cleaner now than when I was born in 1972 and not because of free markets. A lot of middle class people around the world (we're all connected in the economic and spiritual sense) will be kept productively employed devising ways to meet this standard. Who cares about a nominal increase in the cost of a new vehicle. Vehicles are like food, when something costs more, you just buy something less expensive. It's a mean old world and you gotta live in it.

    • See 6 previous
    • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 05, 2014

      @VoGo There is nothing inconsistent about claiming to be an independent and labeling other people based on their posts. There are not just two sides in this country as much as establishment types keep trying to insist there is (except when it's inconvenient anyway). The labeling thing gets me frustrated though. It's practically necessary for discourse, but just because one shares a view with a group he isn't necessarily part of the group or share any of their other values. Then you have the fact that one side virtually controls the labels. How wonderful.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Dec 04, 2014

    Did our discussion of ad-blockers get moderated out of existence?

    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Dec 04, 2014

      I didn't know there was one on this thread, only on the "Aluminum Mainstreaming..." one. Was it here and I arrived too late, or did you post in this one by mistake. Either way, no harm, no foul.

  • Flybrian Flybrian on Dec 04, 2014

    Every time I see a SULEV decal on a car, I also think of a guy who owns that car riding a lawn mower to cut his 1/8-acre suburban lawn and I think, "Yes. This all makes sense."

    • See 3 previous
    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Dec 05, 2014

      @Flybrian Oh yeah. I get what you're saying now. Yeah, it makes no sense why even from an engineering standpoint 2-strokes have remained almost completely unchanged for ...how many years now? I swear the engine my dad put into his homebuilt go-cart in, like, 1975 is construction-wise nearly identical to the one in a brand-new $3000 lawn mower.

  • Truckducken Truckducken on Dec 04, 2014

    I seem to recall the existing standard getting a lot of flak a couple decades ago for being ridiculously close to, or in some regions lower than, naturally occurring ozone levels. But like the man above said, regulators gotta regulate.