7. EPA Gets Smoked Over Attempts to Improve Air Quality

Et tu, Obama?

Poor air quality causes 8,000 premature deaths and up to 40,000 asthma attacks annually.

Poor air quality causes 8,000 premature deaths and up to 40,000 asthma attacks annually.    

In an effort to avoid up to 8,000 premature deaths and up to 40,000 asthma attacks annually, and more closely align the Clean Air Act with current scientific findings, the EPA wanted to lower the eight-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone from 75 parts per billion to at least 70 ppb, or as low at 60. Despite an expected agreement from his Administration, President Obama rejected the revisions. He said he was just putting them off because the standards are set to be revised in two years, anyway, so why trouble state regulators with changes now and then potentially again in two years? But Obama was roundly criticized for this decision. Well, with the exception of Republicans and industry groups that fiercely lobbied against the revisions, calling them job-killers. But this is just one of many attempts—including an effort to dismantle the Clean Air Act—launched by House Republicans, in an apparent effort to weaken the EPA’s power.

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