A number of states in the West could be impacted by a proposal announced Thursday from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding stricter health standards for smog, replacing a Bush-era limit that ran counter to scientific recommendations.
The new limit will likely put hundreds more counties nationwide in violation, a designation that will require them to find additional ways to clamp down on pollution or face government sanctions, most likely the loss of federal highway dollars, according to the EPA.
The new standards could impact counties in Idaho, Oregon and Nevada, among numerous others states for the first time based on EPA data. The tighter standards will cost tens of billions of dollars to implement, but will ultimately save billions in avoided emergency room visits, premature deaths, and missed work and school days, the EPA said.
Smog is a respiratory irritant that has been linked to asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses. It is formed when emissions from cars, power plants and other factories mix in sunlight. If other cities in the West end up looking like Los Angeles, kiss loads of federal funding goodbye.
Not everybody can afford a new hybrid car. Some people don’t enjoy taking the bus. All the same, if people want to support the state where they live, it’s time to step up and do their best to clean up the air. Ride your bike to work once a week. Walk to the market when you are only purchasing a few items. Quit being lazy, every effort helps.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement Thursday that the ”EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face,” Jackson said. ”Using the best science to strengthen these standards is long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier.”