- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency will move forward Tuesday with a review of its limit on ground-level ozone, asking the public for input on whether the current standard protects public health - and if it hurts the economy.

The Obama administration tightened the ozone standard in 2015, citing health concerns. Industry has said the new limit is too strict.

The EPA routinely re-evaluates its standards on a five-year schedule, though it often misses its deadlines. Administrator Scott Pruitt said the ozone review will be conducted by October 2020 even though it’s just getting underway. The public now has 60 days to comment on the standard.

Pruitt told the outside advisory panel that makes recommendations to consider “economic or energy effects” as well as health.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit challenging the 2015 standard, saying the “EPA set an unattainable mandate … that will slow economic growth opportunities,” noting that many areas of the country still don’t meet the more lenient 2008 standard.

States had to begin meeting the new standard last October. Pruitt originally said he would delay implementation by one year but backtracked after being sued by 15 states.

Ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, is an unstable gas created when pollution from cars, power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants and other sources react in the atmosphere to sunlight. It can cause serious breathing problems for some people, and contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year.

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