Ozone Air Quality Standards: EPA's 2015 Revision [October 3, 2014]   [open pdf - 489KB]

"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is nearing the end of a statutorily required review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. The agency is under a court order to propose any revisions to the standard by December 1, 2014. NAAQS are standards for outdoor (ambient) air that are intended to protect public health and welfare from harmful concentrations of pollution. If the EPA Administrator changes the primary standard to a lower level, she would be concluding that protecting public health requires lower concentrations of ozone pollution than were previously judged to be safe. In high enough concentrations, ozone aggravates heart and lung diseases and may contribute to premature death. Ozone also can have negative effects on forests and crop yields, which the secondary (welfare-based) NAAQS is intended to protect. As of July 2014, 123 million people (40% of the U.S. population) lived in areas classified 'nonattainment' for the primary ozone NAAQS. A more stringent standard might affect more areas, and sources that contribute to nonattainment might have to adopt more stringent emission controls. This could be costly: in 2011, EPA concluded that the annual cost of emission controls necessary to attain a primary NAAQS of 0.070 ppm (as opposed to the then-current standard of 0.075 parts per million, which remains in place today) would be at least $11 billion in 2020."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43092
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