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The Wall Street Journal

July 13, 2020, 2:27 p.m. EDT

Trump’s EPA to retain ozone standard set by Obama after businesses fought tougher rules

Administration plans to retain national limit of 70 parts per billion for the pollutant

By Timothy Puko


Daniel Stein/iStock
Ground-level ozone comes from manufacturing plants, utilities and cars and can exacerbate a range of respiratory problems, including asthma.

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. Both the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers had urged the Obama administration to keep the previous standard of 75 parts per billion.

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

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