EPA to Toughen Smog Rules

Measure would be costly but yield huge health savings
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2010 2:15 PM CST
A file photo of smoggy Los Angeles from April.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
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(Newser) – The EPA wants to ramp up smog standards in a significant way from the Bush administration. Assuming today's proposal goes through after a 60-day period for public comment, the agency projects the new standards would prevent 12,000 premature deaths and yield huge savings in health costs. The rules limit the amount of smog-making pollutants allowed in the air in an eight-hour period to between 60 and 70 parts per billion, down from the current level of 75, reports the Washington Post.

While the change may seem small on the surface, it would cost manufacturers, oil refineries, and utilities between $19 billion and $90 billion to implement, notes the New York Times. The final number depends on the exact limit the EPA adopts. State and local officials would have to revamp their own regulations to meet the federal standards.

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