News & Events

Mercury Standards A Good Step, But What About Ozone?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reposted from the blog of our Outreach Director, Christopher Cocca:

Jon Geeting has a cost/benefit quote from Paul Krugman about the new Mercury and Air Toxins Standards (MATS) announced by EPA this week, and some thoughts about the GenOn issue here in our backyard.

As I commented on Jon's blog:

"Jon, thanks for posting on this. In my capacity as Outreach Director for the Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley - Berks, I have piece running on related issues in the forthcoming Tuesday, Dec 27 edition of The Morning Call.

We're applauding the president for the new MATS (Mercury and Toxins Standard), but we're still looking for leadership on the new Ozone standards EPA proposed, based on the best available science, this past year. In September, the President disappointed everyone by failing to enact these standards, leaving 2008 Bush guidelines in place that have been widely derided by the scientific community and advocacy groups.

Some of these groups have been pushing hard for GenOn to be forced to clean up sooner than the three year window that now seems to be codified. My personal preference would be for a quicker total clean up. Clean air is a fundamental legal right of all residents of the Commonwealth (Section 27 of the PA Constitution). Krugman is right about the health benefits and cost/benefit of MATS, even as President Obama was wrong about the negative economic impact of better Ozone standards. It makes one wonder why MATS got greenlit and responsible Ozone standards got punted to a presumptive second Obama term."

As you'll see in Tuesday's piece, "political realities" aren't a good answer on the Ozone failure. Check out what the President's frenemies at the American Lung Association had to say about it. They're very pleased with the President this week about MATS, and they should be. And so I am and so should we all. But my primary charge as a representative of the Air Quality Partnership is to advocate for and education about ways we can reduce smog-causing ozone pollution and the productive of deadly soot (often called particulate matter). Mr. Obama, why, exactly, were the crucial updates to the Bush standards (so widely scorned in the progressive community) abandoned without a fight? Why did you cede the cost/benefit narrative on better ozone protection when the science (and economics) were clearly in the favor of protecting public health?

Related:Who's Right on Smog and Clean Air Standards? Obama or His EPA? (