President Obama joined George W. Bush when he rejected the Environmental Protection Agency’s new smog standards [“Obama halts tighter rules on ozone emissions,” front page, Sept. 3]. In a single, misguided stroke, he dismissed the best medical and scientific advice provided by the EPA and condemned thousands of Americans to poorer health.
In 2007, the EPA’s data showed that almost 120 million Americans lived in counties where the ozone standard was not met. We need and deserve cleaner, healthier air. The agency’s 2020 projections estimated that, if a 60-part-per-billion standard replaced the current 75-part-per-billion standard, cleaner air would prevent 4,000 heart attacks, 46,000 exacerbations of asthma, 18,400 emergency room visits and 332,000 lost days of work each year, plus myriad other adverse health effects. The projected cost estimates range from $8.3 billion to $18 billion, with benefits ranging from $53 billion to $100 billion. These numbers represent not just dollars but children struggling to breathe, adults dying prematurely from heart attacks, etc.