Quote of the Day - This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.
As a result, the new regulation is about one-third more stringent and increases the number of states containing unhealthy areas to 31, placing 170 million people in smog zones. The 19 states not listed are located primarily in the West or where winds blow steadily to disperse the smog.
Environmentalists are skeptical of the effectiveness of the more stringent standard. They claim that the Bush administration's new flexibility for regulations allow some communities to avoid imposing rules that would otherwise require cuts in pollutants from smokestacks and tailpipes.
The passage of the new standard forces Texas to institute new pollution controls to reduce smog-causing ozone, ending the efforts of Congressman Joe Barton to block the measure. Barton currently heads the House Committee on Energy & Commerce that approves the USEPA's budget.