In an about-face, the EPA defends stricter smog rule against legal attacks

Credit: Prayitno/Flickr

Some rare good news is coming out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: It will uphold the Obama-era ozone rule against legal attacks brought by industry and numerous state officials (including its own former administrator Scott Pruitt). Ground-level ozone, the byproduct of fossil fuel emissions from tailpipes and power plants, causes smog, which has been linked to premature death and all sorts of respiratory ailments, such as asthma. The move was a surprising course-change: President Trump promised to toss the rule while on the campaign trail, and Pruitt fought against the protections both as Oklahoma attorney general and EPA chief. The change of heart may have had something to do with the rock solid science behind the rule—or the challengers’ lawsuits being groundless. Either way, we're glad it's staying: Cities and states have been making real strides toward delivering safer air to their citizens in line with the standard.

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