Tuesday, March 16, 2010

EPA Ozone Hearing

At the EPA Ozone Public Hearing in Arlington today, residents had the opportunity to speak and voice their concerns about the proposed tighter ozone standards.

Dr. Armendariz addressed the crowd before the public participation started. The proposed new ozone standards will be between 60 and 70 parts per billion. If Texas can't meet the new standard, then the state will be required to create a plan to clean up the air to protect human health.

Tighter standards will save thousands of lives each year. The amount of lives saved greatly increase from tightening the standards to 70, 65, and 60 ppb. It is estimated that 1,500 to 12,000 lives a year will be saved.

Dr. Armendariz talked about the many health effects from high ozone levels in the air.

  • Asthma
  • Reduced lung function
  • Airway irritation and damage
  • Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections
  • Permanent lung damage
  • Shortness of breath and chest pain
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Increased treatment or hospitalization of people with lung diseases, such as asthma or COPD, include emphysema, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis
  • Premature Death

The asthma rate has sharply risen in the DFW area. A recent study showed that 25% of 8 to 9 year old children have asthma. That is much higher than the state average of 7%. Stronger standards will prevent an estimated 23,000 to 58,000 asthma attacks each year.

Opponents to the tighter standards want us to think that clean air is bad for business here in Texas but that is the opposite. The health care costs to treat the health effects listed above cost residents, employers, and the state outrageous amounts of money and will likely climb as the air in Texas deteriorates.

Alisa Rich from Wolf Eagle Environmental spoke about the Flower Mound leukemia cases, recent Flower Mound air quality testing done by Kleinfelder for the town, and the high levels of methane detected near gas drilling production sites. She stated flaws in the Flower Mound air test results and begged the EPA to get involved.

Sharon Wilson of the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project presented this TXOGAP and FWCANDO video . She talked about the Drill Right Texas..Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas. Stating the proposed stronger standard ozone levels one of the many essential tools needed to clear our air.

Dr. Armendariz said the EPA will make the final ruling on the ozone level by August 31st of this year.

You still have time to submit your comments to the EPA in support of the new ozone standards. The deadline is March 22nd.

How to Comment
Proposal to Revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: Instructions for Submitting Comments

EPA will accept public comments for until March 22, 2010 on the proposed revisions to the ozone standards.

Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005 -0172 and submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov/
  • e-mail a-and-r-docket@epa.gov
  • Mail (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail code 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460), or
  • Hand delivery (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).

To read a fact sheet on the proposed rule, visit http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/pdfs/fs20100106std.pdf
The text of the proposed rule http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/fr/20100119.pdf

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