The Austin Chronicle

Onward Through the Smog

By Lee Nichols, August 5, 2011, News

Clean air is on hold yet again. The Environmental Protection Agency had been scheduled to announce tighter standards for ground-level ozone on July 29 (see "Austin Falling Short on Clean Air," July 22), but as the deadline approached, the EPA backed off. According to The Hill, a Washington, D.C., congressional newspaper, the EPA decided to wait until completion of a review by the White House Office of Manage­ment and Budget. The new rule would lower acceptable ozone levels from the Bush-era standard of 75 parts per billion in an eight-hour period (a level Austin struggled to stay below in recent years) down to a scientific panel's recommendation of between 60 and 70 ppb. However, business groups have been lobbying hard against the new standard. The Hill quoted an EPA spokesman as saying that agency administrator Lisa Jackson is "fully committed" to implementing the rule once the OMB analysis is finished.

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