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Ohio senator fumes over new ozone requirements

U.S. Senator George Voinovich said he was disappointed with the Environmental Protection Agency decision to move forward with more restrict ozone standards. “At a time when our nation is facing record unemployment levels, EPA should not be considering new mandates that will further hamper our ability to retain and expand jobs particularly when the existing standards have not been met.” said Voinovich.

Administrator Lisa Jackson told the Associated Press, “EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and wide spread pollutants we face” Jackson said the action is overdue and it will help millions of Americans breath easier and live healthier.

Voinovovich said the standards, at the lower end of the range the agency is now considering, would significantly increase the number of non-attainment counties across the United States. He says Ohio could see as many as 48 counties designated as non-compliant. Voinovich says the nations air quality has been steadily improving, with measured ambient concentrations of ozone dropping 25% since 1980.

The EPA plans to come up with a specific range of allowable concentration of ground level ozone by August. Scientists, during the Bush administration, recommended 60 parts per billion to 70 parts. States, with some exceptions, will then have up to 20 years to meet the new limits. Affected states must come up with a formula to meet the new restrictions within three or four years.

Voinovich says the administration should weigh additional gains against the overall costs to already struggling communities. The EPA estimates the new rules will cost industry and motorists from $19 billion to as much as $90 billion a year by 2020.

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