EPA proposes stricter regulations on smog-causing pollutants

Summary:The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week proposed the strictest regulations to date on pollutants in an effort to curb smog.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week proposed the strictest regulations to date on pollutants in an effort to curb smog.

The new standards would replace ozone regulations implemented by the Bush administration in 2008 that were deemed so weak as to be harmful to people's health, reports the New York Times.

Officially, the proposed standards limit the amount of ozone a person could be exposed to in a given area over eight hours: between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million.

Regions with the worst smog pollution -- most of the Northeast; southern and central California; greater Chicago and greater Houson -- would be allowed extra time to comply.

The EPA also proposed a secondary, seasonal standard to protect trees and plants from the damaging effects of ozone, which rise in the summer and travel out of cities and into more heavily wooded areas.

Some big businesses argue that the new standards would be mostly ineffective and impose expensive costs that would be passed on to the consumer. Some environmental groups claim that the resultant reduction of health care costs would offset the sticker price of the proposed regulations.

For now, the EPA will take public comment on the proposal for 60 days. It expects to issue a final rule in August. By the end of 2013, states are required to submit plans showing how areas not in compliance will be brought into compliance, and the new rules are proposed to be phased in between 2014 and 2031 according to the severity of the area's smog levels.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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