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July 12, 2020, 10:03 p.m. EDT

Trump administration won’t tighten existing ozone standards

70-parts-per-billion standard set by Obama administration to stay in pace

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By Timothy Puko


Getty Images
Smog hangs over downtown Los Angeles in June 2019.

The Trump administration plans to retain a national limit of 70 parts per billion for the pollutant ozone, the standard set by the Obama administration five years ago after business groups fought tougher standards.

The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to review ozone, soot and a handful of other named pollutants every five years, with a mandate to consider only the latest science on public health and not the cost of implementation.

EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler plans to announce the decision to retain the existing standard on Monday.

In a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Wheeler said that national average ozone concentrations have dropped 25% between 1990 and 2019. They fell slightly again last year after flatlining since 2013, EPA data show. He said the decision to retain the current standard was based on a review of the scientific literature and recommendations from independent science advisers.

Manufacturers and energy companies are the most likely to benefit from a decision not to tighten ozone standards.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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