Appalachian Mountain Club released a letter this week with 15
other regional and national organizations calling on President Obama to issue
strong national ozone standards. The letter comes on the heels of a report1
by partner organization National Parks Conservation Association that found many
of our national parks are still plagued by air pollution. In fact 36 out of the
48 parks examined have unhealthy air at times, with levels that put youth and
active people at risk.
The letter asks the
Obama Administration to “advance a health-based ozone standard that reduces the
threat of ozone to our lungs as we and our children exercise, play, or work in
the outdoors. And we ask you to advance a separate ecosystem standard
adequate to fully protect the natural, historic, and cultural values of places
ranging from the Appalachian Mountains to Sequoia National Park and the precious
species that inhabit them."
standards for ozone pollution– commonly known as smog –are set under the Clean
Air Act. The current health standard is
75 parts per billion. Studies indicate that
level puts people with asthma, young children, the elderly, and others at
greater risk for lung and heart disease than the standard recommended by health
scientists and supported by the AMC, which is 60 ppb. The agency is also
required to issue welfare standard for ozone to protect the health of crops and
forests. Ozone pollution can cause substantial damage to trees and
plants, stunting their growth, making them much more susceptible to disease and
drought, and causing yellowing or mottled leaves.