Ozone, a smog-causing gas that is formed when chemical emissions from power plants, factories and cars are exposed to heat and sunlight, has been linked to childhood asthma, lower infant birth weights and lung disease.
Environmental advocates welcomed the agency’s policy shift on ozone but said they would continue to insist on vigorous enforcement of pollution laws.
“Pruitt’s lawless attempt to delay stronger ozone-pollution protections would have put thousands of lives at risk,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the environmental program at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “It’s disturbing how much pressure it took to get this common-sense step from the guy in charge of protecting the air we breathe.”
In October 2015 the Obama administration set a new national standard for ozone of 70 parts per billion, down from 75 parts per billion. It was far less strict than manufacturers had feared, but industry leaders still criticized the rule as overly burdensome.
Update from the Washington Post
Curator note: Many in the Trump administration, including Pruitt, frequently provide misleading information. For example, the article above would indicates that Pruitt and the EPA were following the law and not influenced by legal issues. Yet, in the article below, it indicates that a number of states had filed challenges to the EPA.
— The EPA said it has reversed a decision to put off the Oct. 1 implementation of an Obama-era ozone rule, a move that comes one day after 16 states sued over the delay. Darryl Fears reports: “With no mention of the challenges from states such as California, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington, [EPA head Scott Pruitt] … said in a statement that he would now work ‘with the states through the complex designation process.’ In the statement, Pruitt asserted that the Clean Air Act gave his agency ‘the flexibility to allow one additional year for sufficient information to support ozone designations,’ and said he might take ‘future action to use its delay authority.’”