The American Lung Association is extremely disappointed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that they will fail to meet the deadline previously established for adopting a more protective national ambient air quality standard for ozone. EPA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that this long-awaited decision will not come until late October, two months after the previous deadline.

Delays in setting an ozone standard have serious and life-threatening ramifications. Ozone air pollution causes premature death, asthma attacks, difficulty breathing, and can shape the development of a child's lungs. Levels of ozone like those we're experiencing in Washington DC today can send people with lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to the emergency room and the hospital. Delays in setting the standard translate into delays in putting clean up measures in place that can reduce ozone and protect the health of millions of people.

Today's announcement means additional delay in getting a more protective standard in place. We urge EPA to move forward aggressively to prevent any additional delay. We urge EPA to adopt the strongest, most protective standard under consideration, 60 parts per billion.

EPA is required by the Clean Air Act to establish a national air quality standard that defines the limits on the amount of ozone pollution that can be in the air across the U.S. The ozone standard drives all the cleanup nationwide of this widespread and deadly pollutant. The federal government, states and communities must take steps to cut. Delays to setting a standard means delays to steps that can reduce the levels of ozone, and reduce premature deaths.

The American Lung Association had taken legal action in 2008 after the previous EPA Administrator had established a standard that clearly failed to protect public health. We were pleased when the EPA announced that they were reconsidering that standard, looking at levels that followed the recommendations of expert scientists who had carefully considered the evidence.

We urge EPA to move forward as soon as possible.

American Lung Association

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