Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has met its requirements of the Clean Air Act by signing the most stringent eight-hour standard ever for ozone, revising the standards for the first time in more than a decade. The EPA based the changes on the most recent scientific evidence regarding the effects of ozone, which is the primary component of smog.
“America’s air is cleaner today than it was a generation ago,” said Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator. “By meeting the requirement of the Clean Air Act and strengthening the national standard for ozone, EPA is keeping our clean air progress moving forward.”
The new primary eight-hour standard is 0.075 parts per million (ppm), with the new secondary standard set at a form and level identical to the primary standard. The previous primary and secondary standards were both set at 0.08 ppm.
“The Clean Air Act is not a relic to be displayed in the Smithsonian, but a living document that must be modernized to continue realizing results,” Johnson said. “So while the standards I signed today may be strict, we have a responsibility to overhaul and enhance the Clean Air Act to ensure it translates from paper promises into cleaner air.”
Johnson also announced that he will be sending four principles to Congress to guide legislative changes to the Clean Air Act, recommending that the Act and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards must protect public health and improve the overall well-being of citizens; should allow decision-makers to consider benefits, costs, risk tradeoffs and feasibility in making decisions about how to clean the air; should provide greater accountability and effective enforcement to ensure that requirements are met; and should allow the schedule for addressing standards to be driven by available science and the prioritization of health and environmental concerns, taking into account the multi-pollutant nature of air pollution.