Agency fails to protect air quality in Los Angeles

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Agency fails to protect air quality in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, CA (BDCi) –Environmental and public health groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failure to protect residents in Los Angeles from the dangers of high levels of smog.

The suit alleges that the E.P.A. missed a deadline in May to determine whether the ozone level in the region is hazardous to public health. It also claims the Agency didn’t do enough to force officials to crack down on smog in the L.A. Basin.

Among others groups, the lawsuit was filed by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles Desert Citizens Against Pollution, Communities for a Better Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council. The E.P.A. has refused to comment on the lawsuit. The American Lung Association recently determined that L.A. has the highest ozone level in the entire nation.

The Congress established a one-hour standard for ozone pollution under the federal Clean Air Act, and the E.P.A. had to certify no later than May if air districts had met those criteria. Then the South Coast Air Quality Management District would have one year to submit a clean-up plan.

The only areas that have not met the national standard in California are the Central Valley and South Coast districts.

According to the South Coast District spokesman, Sam Atwood, the agency has adopted a plan to meet an eight-hour ozone standard, which is more stringent than the one-hour standard and offers more health protection.

Ozone inflames the respiratory system, causing asthma attacks, hospitalizations and deaths.

About one million adults and three thousand children have asthma in Los Angeles, said the American Lung Association.

By: Ana Paula Silvani
Editing by: Janete Weinstein
Source: KTLA & Los Angeles Times
July 19, 2011
3:45 p.m. PDT

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