In a unanimous decision, a federal court of appeals has struck down the Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s ruling changing the 8-hour ozone standard, saying that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by relaxing those limits.
The 1990 Clean Air Act required stronger anti-smog measures in cities violating ozone standards, including limits on pollution from new and expanded factories, requirements for annual cuts in smog-forming emissions, and caps on truck and car exhaust. In 1997, EPA found that the then-existing 1-hour ozone health standard wasnâ€™t strong enough to protect health, and adopted a new 8-hour standard to provide greater protection.
But in 2004, the agency adopted rules that weakened pollution control requirements for areas violating both the old and the new standard. That triggered the court challenge leading to the present decision.