By Renny MacKay
Laramie, WY – The Environmental Protection Agency has responded to a court order and has proposed tightening the standard for the pollutant ozone. The change would specifically impact Sublette County where levels of that gas have exceeded existing standards a few times over the last five years in Wyoming. Local activists pushed the state Environmental Quality Council to decrease the maximum allowable level of ozone, but the Council voted down the request. Now the EPA is suggesting a new standard for the whole country.
Bruce Pendry is with the Wyoming Outdoor Council. He says the new standard would help protect the health of the public, "particularly the vulnerable in the population; the young, the old and people with respiratory problems. Those are the people that are most threatened by these high ozone levels and getting a control on them will benefit those people."
The E-P-A says ozone is linked with serious health problems from aggravated asthma to premature death for people with heart or lung problems. The ozone in Sublette County has been linked in part to natural gas drilling and environmental conditions.