Representative Edward J. Markey, a key Capitol Hill lawmaker on environmental issues, today praised proposed new smog standards that would replace Bush administration rules criticized by scientists.
The Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the stricter health standards, which will likely mean hundreds more counties across the country will be in violation, forcing them to lower ozone levels or risk losing federal highway money.
“Our ozone standards have been in the danger zone for long enough, and these new pro-science standards encourage the adoption of cleaner, pollution-cutting technologies," said Markey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee with oversight of EPA.
“The Bush administration set flawed standards that failed to protect public health. This new rule will save thousands of lives each year, decrease health care costs, and will continue America’s new push for cleaner energy, air and water," he added in a statement. "We can all breathe a little easier knowing that a pro-science Obama administration and EPA is back on the beat.”
Ozone, formed when emissions from cars and other factories mix in sunlight, has been an issue in the Northeast and the West Coast. The lower limits would likely hit Midwestern states, the Associated Press reports.
"EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face," the agency's administrator, Lisa Jackson, said in a statement. "Using the best science to strengthen these standards is long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.