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Statement of Bernadette Toomey, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Lung Association
Date:3/12/2008

Half Measures and Compromises Are Not Good Enough

WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a critical tightening of the health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone. We wish we could be happier about this decision, but we cannot. The standard announced today, although an improvement, falls far short of the requirements of the Clean Air Act. We are unable to celebrate half measures when the risks are so evident, when the science and the scientists are so united about what is needed and when the missed opportunity means that thousands will suffer more and die sooner than they should. Furthermore, we reject the suggestions made by the Administrator to weaken and undermine the Clean Air Act itself. Coming from the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, such suggestions are truly outrageous.

Certainly, today's decision on the health-based standard opens a welcome new phase in the attack against the most widespread air pollutant in the nation -- and among the most dangerous. A tighter ozone standard sets in motion new steps to clean up air pollution. The ozone standard the EPA adopted strengthens the protection for millions of Americans from the air pollutant often known as smog. Yet, by stopping far short of the mark, the EPA action today denies millions more the protection they deserve from their government.

Ozone smog threatens the health of infants, children, seniors, and people who have asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other lung diseases. For these people, breathing smog-polluted air can make them cough and wheeze, restrict their airways, worsen their diseases, force them to the hospital and even kill them. Even healthy young adults and people who exercise or work outdoors can suffer from high levels of ozone pollution.

Today's decision means that millions of Americans will not get the protection that the law requires. According
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SOURCE American Lung Association
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