Obama administration fails to update air quality standards

September 5, 2011

Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — Sept. 2, the Barack Obama administration announced it will not update critical air quality standards for ozone pollution — commonly known as smog.

This decision was made despite a unanimous recommendation by the independent board of air experts and scientists created under the Clean Air Act to ensure current standards be strengthened to protect public health.

Exposure to smog triggers asthma attacks, causes permanent lung damage and can even lead to premature death. According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 5,000 asthma-related deaths occur each year in the United States. In Illinois, more than 718,000 adults and 243,000 children suffer from asthma, according to the American Lung Association.

For too long, smog pollution has left our children gasping for breath,” said Max Muller, program director at Environment Illinios. “Unfortunately, rather than acting decisively to protect our kids from this dangerous air pollution, the White House chose to kick the can down the road. Our kids, senior citizens and those suffering from respiratory problems will suffer as a consequence and certainly deserve better.”

Power plants alone spew 1.9 million tons of smog-forming pollution into our air every year. To protect public health and our environment, Environment Illinois continued its call to clean up the largest sources of smog-forming pollution, maximize energy efficiency, and transition to clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

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