EPA Proposes New Limit for Ozone Emissions

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Image: A layer of smog can be seen above Manhattan through the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York
A layer of smog can be seen above Manhattan through the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, in this file photo taken May 21, 2009. New York's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was celebrated on Friday as an engineering marvel on the 50th anniversary of its opening, but a proposed toll increase for the longest suspension bridge in the country put a damper on the birthday party. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANNIVERSARY CITYSCAPE)LUCAS JACKSON / Reuters

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The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced a new proposal to limit emissions of ozone, arguing that curbing the smog-causing pollutant will have wide-ranging public health benefits.

"Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement. "It empowers the American people with updated air quality information to protect our loved ones - because whether we work or play outdoors - we deserve to know the air we breathe is safe."

The EPA argues that ground-level ozone can pose serious threats to public health, including aggravation of lung diseases like asthma. Republicans and fossil fuel industry advocates say that a suite of recent EPA regulations are unnecessary, too costly and will result in job losses.

The new proposed regulation would lower the current limit for ozone pollution from 75 parts per billion to between 65 to 70 parts per billion. It would also solicit public comment on an even lower threshold of 60 parts per billion, which environmental groups have sought.

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