More EPA diktats: How low will it go?
Whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tightens a national air-pollution standard for ozone will be an indication of its true intent: protecting health or re-engineering society.
Colorless, odorless ozone forms when sunlight reacts with volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emitted by both natural and man-made sources. The EPA is considering lowering the ozone standard to between 60 and 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb — a level that the EPA and a federal court agreed on in 2008 as protecting public health.
It's doing so even though “overwhelming ... scientific evidence indicates lowering the current ozone standard will not provide added health benefits,” Julie E. Goodman of the Harvard School of Public Health and air-pollution consultant Sonia Sax write in The Wall Street Journal.
They say the EPA makes unrealistic “worst-case” assumptions and hasn't consistently evaluated ozone studies' strengths and weaknesses, interpreting some “to indicate that ozone is more harmful than it likely is.” EPA models even show that reducing man-made ozone could increase natural ozone in some areas, and they also note that the proposed lower standard is close to some areas' natural ozone levels.
All this, plus the EPA's estimate that the lower standard could cost businesses up to $90 billion annually, begs the question: When is too much too much? When a tighter, costly pollutant rule won't enhance health but is imposed anyway — for no discernible reason but radical anti-growth politics.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Netanyahu’s speech
- The IRS scandal: A cover-up grows
- ObamaCare in court
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Unsolved McKeesport murders raise concerns
- A green-tip assault: ATF’s end run
- Spending billions to upgrade Amtrak’s Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg run doesn’t pass the sniff test
- Saturday essay: Deer of fools
- Greensburg Tuesday takes