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E-M:/ Smog release from PIRG

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

From: Becky Stanfield <beckystan@pirg.org>
Subject: air-mail: 31 million americans under code red today
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 09:54:31 -0400
Message-ID: <1125441839-1463792382-1056548071@boing.topica.com>
Reply-To: beckystan@pirg.org

For Immediate Release:                          For More Information Contact:
June 25, 2003                                   Elizabeth Hitchcock, 

31 million Americans will be under "code red" smog alert

Today people in nearly every state east of the Mississippi River will 
experience unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone or "smog".  Cities in 25 
states are forecasting code orange smog levels, warning active children and 
adults in addition to people with respiratory disease to limit outdoor 
activity.  Major metropolitan areas home to 31,653,000 people will issue 
code red warnings, which advise everyone to limit outdoor activity.

"The temperature is rising and so is the smog, which means that millions of 
Americans will breathe air that can cause health damage today," said 
Rebecca Stanfield, Clean Air Advocate for U.S. Public Interest Research 
Group.  "Unfortunately, the nation's clean air safeguards are being 
weakened or eliminated by the Bush Administration, which is letting the 
polluters re-write our clean air laws," she continued.

The metro areas issuing "code red" alerts include:  Atlanta, Baltimore, 
Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Hampton Rhodes 
(VA), Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Richmond, Raleigh-Durham, 
Washington, DC and Wilmington.  For a map of the code orange and code red 
alerts, go to http://www.epa.gov/cgi-bin/airnow.cgi?MapDisplay=FOREMAP.

Ozone triggers an estimated 6 million asthma attacks per year, and sends 
another 150,000 people to hospital emergency rooms.  Even healthy adults 
will experience lower lung function on a high smog day.  Repeated smog 
exposure can permanently damage our lungs -- just like smoking.

Meanwhile, the Clean Air Act, the law that is designed to ensure that every 
American can breathe the air without getting sick, is under attack.  A 
coalition of coal, oil and electric companies, and they have found allies 
in the Bush Administration, and are re-writing the rules to allow more 
pollution to be emitted by power plants and other sources.  For example:

New Source Review:  At the end of last year EPA granted a major regulatory 
gift to the electric, oil, chemical and paper industries, re-writing the 
rules that govern when an old, dirty facility must install modern pollution 
controls.  More than 17,000 facilities will be able to avoid modern 
pollution control measures and emit more smog-forming pollution as a result 
of the changes in these rules.  EPA is in the midst of a second rulemaking 
further weakening this same program for the electric power sector.

Clear Skies:  The Bush Administration has asked Congress to re-write the 
Clean Air Act itself, so that electric power plants will be able to emit 
more smog, soot mercury and carbon dioxide than would be allowed under 
current law if faithfully enforced.  The so-called "Clear Skies" 
legislation, which has been introduced in both houses of Congress, would 
more than double the amount of harmful fine particulate pollution power 
companies could emit compared to faithful enforcement of current law.

"The only way to avoid high smog days is to reduce pollution, primarily 
from power plants and automobiles," said Stanfield.  "We're calling on 
Congress to reject any measure that weakens our clean air safeguards," she 

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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