Attorney General Becerra Condemns Trump Administration’s Refusal to Tighten Ozone Standards

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today condemned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of a final rule leaving the outdated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone unchanged. Ozone, a key ingredient in smog, causes significant harm to human health, including increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In making the decision to retain the current standards, the EPA ignores new evidence that further confirms that the ozone exposure is detrimental to human health and that minority, low-income, and indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted.

“Under President Trump, the EPA has been consistent in its disregard for the cost to human health of its decisions,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The harsh reality is certain communities are burdened with a disproportionate share of environmental pollution – and the resulting health risks. The EPA has an obligation to protect the health of all Americans as it shepherds our environmental policies. Its failure to strengthen standards regulating ozone and other hazardous air pollutants – in the midst of a respiratory pandemic, no less – amounts to negligence, at least, that threatens the life and health of vulnerable Californians.”

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set NAAQS for several pollutants including ozone. The standards are required to be set at a level that protects public health, safety, and welfare. The EPA is then required to review the standards once every five years and revise them if new information shows that the existing standards are inadequate. Since the last review of the ozone NAAQS was completed in 2015, ample new data and scientific research has emerged on the negative impacts of ozone. Despite this, the EPA today announced its decision to retain the 2015 standards without change.

Attorney General Becerra has repeatedly urged the EPA to strengthen standards for ozone and particulate matter.

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