The E.P.A. actually says it is tightening rules against ozone, and that many urban counties in the United States now frequently have air that is unhealthy to breathe. Specifically 345 counties in California, the Northeast and scattered across urban parts of the U.S. will now have tighter anti-ozone regulations. Some particularly dirty air hot spots like Los Angeles don't even meet the older, looser ozone standards. Don't fret, violators can get more jail time for passing a bad check than polluting the air we have to inhale.
Here's the EPA's take on why ozone is not good for living things. Ozone is a must-have ingredient anytime you want to produce smog.
Here's the EPA's up-to-the-day map of where the air;s fine, where it's not.
The EPA says any expense needed to meet the new standards would be more than off-set by the savings from fewer sick and dying humans in the polluted places. There was no comment on what effect $20/gallon gasoline might have on cleaning up the ozone problem in many of the most polluted counties. Of course, power plants, cement plants and factories contribute their share of ozone in addition to that from internal combustion.
Many environmental groups complain the EPA did not follow the recommendations of its own scientific staff which wanted even tougher anti-ozone regs. The American Lung Association was hoping for tough standards as were many of their lobbying allies. But then "Lung Associaton," you can see where they're coming from. The name says it all. Not really concerned about how much money sonme cement companhy or utility makes. Some business lobby groups complain even this move by gthe EPA is too costly.
And naturally this ruling plays into the on-going battle over the EPA's refusal to let states set their own, tougher anti-smog regulations for internal combustion engines. So smog is bad, but we won't let you put any hardship ln the auto industry. Thanks, EPA. You folks are champs!