A Great Opportunity to Strengthen Air Quality Standards
EPA Sets Houston Hearing; Solicits Written Comments
Several Texas metropolitan areas, especially the
Houston-Galveston area, are plagued with poor
air quality, particularly with regard to smog.
Ground-level ozone is the primary indicator used
by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) for the presence of smog, and ozone itself
at certain levels has been found to have adverse
Environmental, public health,
and scientific groups have long maintained that
the current EPA standard for ozone is not sufficient
to protect human health or to achieve good air
quality in our cities.
The EPA is finally taking action
and has published in the Federal Register a proposed
new ozone standard (officially the “National Ambient Air Quality
Standard” or “NAAQS” for ozone).
The proposed standard, while an improvement over the
current one, does not provide the level of protection
that the scientific community feels is necessary to
assure the health of the public.
The public review
and comment process for the EPA proposal, however,
provides the opportunity for the public to push for
an even stronger standard.
Environmental and public
health groups generally are pushing for the recommendations
noted in the American Lung Association fact sheet accompanying
Written Comments Sought Also
Public hearings on the proposed ozone standard changes have been held around the country (including one in Houston on September 5) and are now concluded. However, written statements and supporting information submitted during the public comment period will be considered with the same weight as any oral comments and supporting information presented at the public hearings. Written comments must be postmarked by the last day of the comment period.
Written comments on this proposed ozone rule may also be
submitted to EPA electronically, by mail, or by facsimile.
Send written comments to EPA by October 9, 2007.
Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2005–0172,
by one of the following methods:
• www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions
for submitting comments.
• E-mail: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.
• Fax: 202–566–1741.
• Mail: Docket No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2005–0172,
Environmental Protection Agency, Mail code 6102T, 1200
Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include
a total of two copies.
For assistance in this process, contact Dr. Neil
Carman, Sierra Club Clean Air Director at
512-472-1767 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Brandt Mannchen, Lone Star Chapter Air Quality
Chair at 713-664-5962 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
"New research shows that we are still creating
and breathing significant pollution in our air. All
sectors of our society must find a way to clean it
up," said Neil Carman, Clean Air Director of the
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. "It is important
that the EPA create an ozone standard that will help
to clean up air pollution so that we can breathe and
live healthier lives in Texas. Stricter ozone standards
from the national agency in charge of environmental
quality will set a valuable new bar for reducing emissions."