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Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 12:14pm

EPA Wants Tougher Smog Limit

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering tougher smog standards. The proposed revision could put many areas of the state in violation of the Federal Clean Air Act.

The EPA announced today it’s proposing to replace a national 2008 standard which many believe didn’t do enough to protect human health.

Brian Carr with the Clean Air Campaign says the older standard already had some parts of the state under the radar of the state environmental division, and with a stricter rule….

“Some of those areas like Augusta, Macon, parts of the Columbus area," says Carr, "those were all on the threshold of having more sanctions and now it appears it can go forward with a greater impetus.”

Carr says the new rule could imperil federal transportation dollars in those areas, as has already happened in Atlanta.

It could also raise fuel costs and require regular testing of car emissions.

Jack Capp with Georgia's Environmental Protection Division says such predictions are premature and changes would be five years out at the earliest because of the regulatory process.

"The EPA has only proposed the standard today," says Capp. "They won’t finalize the standard for a year from today. They won’t designate the areas until two years from today. That will then set a timeline for states to work on their plan which is between two and three years after that.”

A public comment period will open in a few weeks.

The EPD is requesting a hearing in Atlanta.