- The Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2008 rules for ground-level ozone. The challenge was brought by the Utility Air Regulatory group, a conglomeration of utilities, mining, and fossil fuel generation companies..
- The 75 parts-per-billion standard put in place by the Bush administration will remain in place, limiting ground-level ozone, a component of smog produced by fossil fuel combustion. It is a cause of respiratory problems and has harmful effects on vegetation.
- The EPA is expected to decide by December whether to enact a proposal from its staff and science advisers to lower the standard to between 60 parts per billion and 70 parts per billion.
Ozone can cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pain with deep breathing, coughing or a sore or scratchy throat, inflamed or damaged airways, aggravated lung diseases (asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis), increased asthma attacks, or lung infections, according to the EPA.
The agency is in the process of deciding whether to tighten the standard, a move the National Association of Manufacturers said could make it the most expensive regulation ever because of the costs for technology to limit ozone it would impose on fossil fuel plant operators.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said the Supreme Court’ action is critical to protecting clean air because areas that have an ozone concentration above the standard will continue to be required to act to reduce it.
The EPA is expected to decide by December whether to further restrict the standard or enact a proposal from its staff and science advisers to lower the standard to between 60 parts per billion and 70 parts per billion.