December 28, 2020
Chicago – The Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency released its final ozone standard of 70 ppb (parts per billion) but refused to make it tougher than the standard it set in 2015 despite evidence presented by the agency’s own scientific committee that showed tougher standards were necessary. The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) disagreed with the EPA’s proposed finding last summer that the 2015 standard was still adequately protective, and argued the review process – which only occurs every five years — was rushed and flawed this time around.
“The EPA’s new ozone standards don’t meet the legal requirement that they accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge,” said Howard Learner, ELPC’s Executive Director. “The Trump EPA kept the outdated 2015 standard of 70 ppb for the next five years even though that does not sufficiently protect public health. The Trump EPA put public health in the backseat by rushing its regulatory process to wrongly try to tie the new Biden EPA’s hands.”
“High ozone levels continue to harm even healthy individuals but are particularly troublesome for the most vulnerable, such as people with asthma, and children whose lungs are still forming,” said Ann Jaworski, Staff Attorney at ELPC. Additionally, “the 2020 review process fell short of the robust review process that was used to set the 2015 standard. The timeline for the review was incredibly compressed compared to the prior review, and this led to inappropriate shortcuts that created flaws in the process.”