The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brian Willis, (202) 675-2386,

Half a Million Americans Call on the EPA to Strengthen Smog Pollution Protections

Clean air advocates confirm over 500,000 public comments were submitted to the EPA urging the agency to strengthen smog pollution standard


Environmental and public health organizations from around the country have recorded over half a million public comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to finalize the strongest possible smog pollution standard to protect public health.

"Half a million Americans from across the country are calling on the EPA to heed the warnings of doctors and scientists on the health impacts of air pollution and strengthen the smog pollution standard to protect our communities from reckless polluters," said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "Our work to support strong smog protections will continue long after this comment period ends. Smog pollution puts young children, seniors, and asthmatics in very real danger and the only way to truly protect them is to set a strong standard of 60 ppb. A strong standard will not only get polluters to clean up their acts, but it will also give accurate information to countless parents, seniors, and others vulnerable to dirty air about when it is safe to go outside."

During the EPA comment period on the smog standard which ends today, the Sierra Club and a coalition of clean air advocates - including groups like the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Moms Clean Air Force - organized thousands of Americans to submit comments for a stronger standard and mobilized hundreds of local residents to attend the public hearings in Washington, D.C., Arlington, Texas, and Sacramento, California.

"This tremendous outpouring of comments highlights the severity of the problem of air pollution and demonstrates that the American people are willing to petition and organize to demand stronger clean air protections," said Verena Owen, Lead Volunteer at the Sierra Club. "The scientists and medical community have spoken, and now its time for the EPA to do the right thing, listen to these half a million voices, and fulfill one of its core missions of protecting us from dangerous air pollution."

The smog standard was last updated in 2008 when the Bush administration rejected the recommendations of expert scientists and medical health professionals, who warned that the now current 75 parts per billion was insufficient to protect public health. Over the past six years, scientists, medical experts, and public health advocates have consistently highlighted the need for a stronger standard and have pointed to an ever-growing body of scientific literature that demonstrates significant harm to public health, particularly in vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and those with breathing ailments like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The EPA is scheduled to announce the new smog pollution standard on October 1st.

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

(415) 977-5500