Archive for Smog
President Barack Obama made his priorities clear recently when he rejected proposals from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten the national standard from smog. The decision angered environmental and public health groups who called it: ‘bald surrender to business pressure, an act of political pandering and, most galling, a cold-blooded betrayal of a loyal constituency.’ The move is being seen as the first important environmental decision made in President Obama’s campaign season. Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the EPA, was told that she could revisit the Clean Air Act standards in 2013, if the Democrats were re-elected. Republicans and industry lobbyists praised the move but there have been other decisions that have not gone their way. Previously, the Obama administration stated that it was going to delay a key decision on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline until after the 2012 elections. Fears are afoot that the Democrats are abandoning their environmental promises after the Democrats also announced a significant expansion of oil drilling in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico. Commentators have stated that these moves highlight the White House’s growing awareness of the cost of ‘environmental regulation in a battered economy’.
www.latimes.com 19th July 2011
A group of environmental and public health organisations have lodged a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to the latter’s perceived failure to curtail pollution levels, and therefore smog, in the city. The EPA had recently missed a deadline in May to calculate whether ozone levels in the area were hazardous to human health, a decision that could trigger tougher limits on vehicle and industry pollution. Los Angeles already has the highest rates of ozone in the country according to the American Lung Association. It is also has the highest rates if asthma with 1 million adults and 300,000 children diagnosed with the condition. The suit was filed by several organisations including Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Desert Citizens Against Pollution, Communities for a Better Environment and the Natural Resources Defense Council. In nearby San Joaquin Valley, a similar lawsuit was filed by the Sierra Club and Medical Advocates for Healthy Air. If the EPA does end up determining that ozone levels in LA are too high then the regions regulatory agency, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, would have one year to submit a clean-up plan. The EPA have refused to comment on the lawsuit.