Poll: ‘Overwhelming’ support for EPA smog rule

Poll: ‘Overwhelming’ support for EPA smog rule
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Nearly three-quarters of United States voters want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to put further limits on the ozone pollution that causes smog, a new poll found.

The survey was commissioned by the American Lung Association (ALA), which supports the EPA’s proposed ozone rule, and found that 73 percent of voters favor stricter ozone limits.

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“Millions of Americans are breathing polluted air and suffering from asthma attacks, increased risk of respiratory infections, and even premature death,” Harold Wimmer, ALA’s national president, said in a Wednesday statement announcing the poll.

“Of course American voters overwhelmingly support continued steps to protect our health from the dangers of smog pollution.”

The poll is meant to show support for the EPA’s efforts, proposed in November, to restrict the allowable levels of ozone in the air to between 65 and 70 parts per billion, from the current 75 parts per billion.

“Opponents have spent millions of dollars attacking health-based ozone standards,” Wimmer said. “Our poll shows that the public does not buy the polluters’ misleading rhetoric. Instead, support for clean air standards has grown stronger.”

Ozone is a byproduct of fossil fuel pollutants and has been linked to respiratory ailments like asthma.

Business groups and fossil fuel interests have been pushing to stop the EPA’s efforts, saying it would be the most expensive regulation ever.

The same day the ALA put out its survey, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) launched a new advertising campaign against the regulation.

The NAM’s campaign argues that significant volumes of ozone are blown to the United States from China, and domestic companies should not be responsible for it.

“While western states have cut their production of smog-causing ozone by over 20 percent, studies show that pollution from China has offset much of that progress,” the voiceover says.

“These rules won’t hurt China, but they could cost our country more than $1 trillion.”

States and areas that do not meet ozone standards will have to work to lower their pollution levels, which could bring restrictions on fossil fuel burning.

NAM’s polling shows different public opinions on ozone regulation.

A June survey commissioned by that group found that 67 percent of Americans are happy with their air quality.