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Former Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (This site is no longer updated.)

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Leaders Praise EPA’s Stricter Smog Standards

Stakeholders and members of Congress are commending Administrator Jackson’s proposal to strengthen smog standards that protect the air all Americans breathe. On Thursday, January 7, EPA proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog. The standards are grounded in the best available science, and are estimated to prevent substantial amounts of respiratory illness and save thousands of lives. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health.

The following are statements from stakeholders and members of Congress in response to Administrator Jackson’s announcement:

Statement by Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, 1/7/10: "Score one for science. I’m thrilled that the EPA is depoliticizing this regulation and letting the science inform what the rule should be. The EPA is rightfully following the advice of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, a panel of independent experts — advice the previous administration disregarded, putting at risk the health of millions of Americans. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to base the standard solely on the best available scientific information, and the science shows the standard should be tightened. It’s that clear-cut." ###

Statement by Cal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., Toxicologist with the Environmental Defense Fund, 1/7/10: "EPA’s proposed standards promise clean air protections that reach from the nation’s urban neighborhoods and communities to our rural forests and croplands. Children are especially vulnerable to ozone air pollution. For millions of children, high pollution days make it difficult to attend school, to play outside and to simply breathe." ###

Statement from Frank O’Donnell, President of Clean Air Watch: "Smog is the nation’s most widespread air pollutant and one of the most dangerous," noted Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. "Smog can make us sick. It can send us to the hospital. It can literally kill." O’Donnell added, “big polluters will mobilize in opposition," noting that oil industry lobbyists have already been to the White House to protest tougher standards. He noted, “"This EPA decision will determine the quality of the air we breathe in America for the next decade, and probably beyond. If EPA follows through, it will mean significantly cleaner air and better health protection. Clean Air Watch will join the American Lung Association and other health advocates to press for the best possible standards.” ###

Statement by Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, 1/7/10: "Today’s announcement is a breath of fresh air. We applaud EPA for listening to health professionals and scientists, and proposing a rule that provides real protection for millions of people. Smog doesn’t just ruin your view; it poses serious health risks, especially to children and senior citizens. Study after study shows that to protect public health we need to significantly lower the amount of smog in our air-and that means cleaning up dirty coal plants and vehicle pollution. Coal plants are among the largest sources of smog-causing pollution; and with more than 500 plants currently operating in our country, many lacking modern pollution controls, it is our communities that are paying the costs in increased asthma attacks and other health problems. This rule will help ensure that all major sources of pollution get cleaned up; it will drive the need for cities and states to reduce the smog pollution spewing from vehicle tailpipes – investing in transportation choices that enable Americans to travel safely and efficiently without using their cars will be part of the solution. This is another indication that the Obama administration sees the big picture and is working hard to put safeguards in place to build the clean energy future." ###

Statement by Representative Edward J. Markey: “Our ozone standards have been in the danger zone for long enough, and these new pro-science standards encourage the adoption of cleaner, pollution-cutting technologies," said Markey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee with oversight of EPA. “The Bush administration set flawed standards that failed to protect public health. This new rule will save thousands of lives each year, decrease health care costs, and will continue America’s new push for cleaner energy, air and water," he added in a statement. "We can all breathe a little easier knowing that a pro-science Obama administration and EPA is back on the beat.” (Boston Globe.com Political Intelligence column, “Markey Lauds Stricter Ozone Standards,” 1/7/10)

Statement from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) cheered the proposal in a statement. “I am pleased that EPA is once again basing its clean-air decisions on the advice of independent scientists. I applaud this reversal of a Bush administration decision to ignore science.” (The Hill.com, “EPA pushes Tougher Air-Quality Rules,” 1/7/10)

Statement by Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign: "We applaud EPA for listening to health professionals and scientists, and proposing a rule that provides real protection for millions of people. This rule will help ensure that all major sources of pollution get cleaned up; it is another indication that the Obama administration sees the big picture and is working hard to put safeguards in place to build the clean energy future." (Chicago Tribune.com, “EPA replacing smog limit with stricter standard” by Jim Tankersley, 1/7/10)

Janice Nolen, Assistant Vice President of the American Lung Association, praised the new administration’s decision to improve the standard. "Evidence shows that someone is already paying the high prices [of weak standards]," said Nolen. "Children, elderly, people with chronic lung disease should not have to bear that burden. The law requires that they be protected.” (Mother Jones.com, 1//710)

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