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470 Counties Fall Below Smog Standards

San Luis Obispo.com reports that USEPA designated 470 counties as "non-attainment" areas under a new smog standard, first drafted in 1997. The new standard measures eight hours of smog averaged over three days, as opposed to the old, standard one-hour measurement.

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.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, April 15, 2004 at 23:05 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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