[JURIST] The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] on Wednesday announced [press release] that they would reconsider 2008 national smog standards regulations [text] to ensure accuracy and public health. After a thorough review of the scientific methods behind the existing standards, the EPA will propose revisions by December and will issue a final decision by August 2010. Ground-level ozone, referred to as smog, has been linked to respiratory health issues and adverse effects on the environment. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed the decision to reconsider, saying:
This is one of the most important protection measures we can take to safeguard our health and our environment. Smog in the air we breathe can cause difficulty breathing and aggravate asthma, especially in children. Reconsidering these standards and ensuring acceptable levels of ground-level ozone could cut health care costs and make our cities healthier, safer places to live, work and play.
In addition to reviewing the current standards, the agency will also study the findings of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee [official website], which originally recommended stricter requirements.
The decision to review the smog standards came in response to a legal challenge [JURIST report] filed by Earthjustice [advocacy website] on behalf of several environmental organizations. The suit alleged that the EPA ignored the input of top scientists before issuing its smog regulations [JURIST report] in March 2008. The EPA has the power to monitor ozone levels under the Clean Air Act [text, PDF].