Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Obama’s Updated Smog Standard: A Missed Opportunity

Energy
Obama’s Updated Smog Standard: A Missed Opportunity

Today, the Obama Administration will unveil an update to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for smog pollution—or ground level ozone—and set the level at 70 parts per billion (ppb). The standard was last updated in 2008 when the Bush Administration rejected the recommendations of expert scientists and medical health professionals, who warned that the now current 75 ppb was insufficient to protect public health and would leave too many Americans in harm’s way.

According to the American Lung Association, inhaling smog pollution is like getting a sunburn on your lungs and often results in immediate breathing trouble. Long-term exposure to smog pollution is linked to chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, reproductive and developmental disorders and even premature death.

The Obama Administration has fallen short of setting a smog standard that fully protects the health of our families, making this decision a missed opportunity to clean up our air and protect the most vulnerable Americans. Lowering the smog standard from 75 to 70 ppb is a modest step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough to protect the millions of Americans living in communities with dangerously high levels of smog pollution.

Over the past seven years, medical scientists have been clear that any standard above 60 parts per billion (ppb) puts our communities at risk and is especially dangerous to children, seniors and people with respiratory illnesses.

Insufficient clean air protections have disproportionately severe impacts on low income communities and communities of color, who are more likely to live closer to sources of pollution and roadways, have lower access to medical resources and health insurance and frequently have higher rates of asthma, emergency room visits and premature deaths linked to air pollution.

Moving forward, Sierra Club will continue fighting for stronger smog pollution protections and will use every tool in our belt to hold polluters accountable for the toxic emissions they dump on our communities, while continuing to push for stronger clean air protections on the local and federal levels.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Al Gore Blasts GOP Climate Deniers, Thom Hartmann Says Throw Them in Jail

Paul Watson: If the Ocean Dies, We Die!

‘Major Victory for Nebraska Landowners’ as TransCanada Drops Lawsuit, Switches Course

Senate Democrats Plan Attack on Koch Brothers Ahead of 2016 Race

Florida Wildlife Federation / NBC2News / YouTube

In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Imagesines / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.

When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Fossil fuel companies received $110 billion in direct and indirect financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, including up to $15.2 billion in direct federal relief. Andrew Hart /

By Bret Wilkins

In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.

Read More Show Less
Flint corn is an example of pre-contact food. Elenathewise / Getty Images

By Ashia Aubourg

As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.

Read More Show Less

By Alex Middleton

Losing weight and reducing fat is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, there are fat burner supplements that help you gain your target body and goal. However, how would you know which supplement is right for you?

Read More Show Less