The Environmental Protection Agency is drafting new legislation to impose stricter regulations on pollutants released adversely affecting the ozone. The Obama Administration backs the EPA's proposition, leading to new clashes between the White House and Republican controlled congress. Recent air quality reports show higher than healthy pollutant values which lead to respiratory illnesses, which is a major problem in the United States. This legislation, if passed, will be the first increase on air quality limits since the end of the Bush Administration in 2008. The burning of fossil fuels is a main reason for the increased levels of toxins in the air. Many urban areas are hubs for ultra-high levels of air pollutants which have been linked to asthmatic attacks as well as other ailments. "We deserve to know the air we breathe is safe," EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated in announcing the proposal. When deciding to update the law, the EPA was following a legal mandate for "bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science" to protect Americans from serious health threats. As of now the current level of acceptable toxins in the ozone level is 75 parts per billion. This new revision would lower that number to somewhere "in the range of 65-70 parts per billion. While many environmental groups have been pushing for tougher standards, closer to 60 parts per billion, nevertheless they are supporting the EPA's standards full-heartedly as this change is better than no change. GOP lawmakers have taken a vow to fight this bill tooth and nail. Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee stated their intentions to block what they say is one of the "most devastating regulations" set by the EPA in its 44 year history. Industry groups have waged war against these new restrictions warning that it will cost the economy billions in revenue. Many groups including state health and environmental agencies believe those estimations are exaggerated. Other groups point to studies presenting economic losses due to ozone-related respiratory illnesses and premature deaths. "The public should have the right to know whether or not the air they are breathing is safe," said S. William Becker the director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. He continues to say "there can be a false security thinking that levels at 75 ppb are safe to breathe when scientists are saying there are not." This new EPA policy is expected to be adopted next fall.
Should the EPA enforce stronger restrictions on air quality?
Are possible economic setbacks worth the benefits?
Should the president and the GOP work together to find a medium on this issue?