EPA pitches strict smog standards; more truck rules likely to follow

| 1/8/2010

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it is proposing the “strictest health standards to date” for ground-level ozone, also known as smog.

The new standards will likely be tied to federal funding, and are likely to lead to increased local county regulations aimed at cutting emissions from diesel trucks.

The new “primary” ozone standard would be set between .06 and .07 parts per million measured over eight hours. A secondary standard aimed at protecting plants and trees, as well. The current existing ozone standards are set at .075 parts per million – a standard that took effect in March 2008.

“EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, in a statement. “Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier.”

One large sector of American workers who won’t breathe easier as a result of the regulation: truck drivers who already struggle to meet several layers of federal, state and local emissions regulations.

The EPA’s proposal this week will directly affect truck owners, said Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA director of regulatory affairs.

“In all likelihood, truckers will see more regulatory restrictions placed on them as a direct result of these standards,” Rajkovacz said. “Local governments will expand anti-idling regulations, and states and other entities could adopt CARB-styled regulations that will affect all truck owners.”

According to EPA, ground-level ozone forms when emissions from industrial facilities, power plants, landfills and motor vehicles mix with sunlight.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer