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Delaying The Ozone Standards Hasn’t Stopped Houston’s Progress

The EPA delayed ozone protections by one year, local environmental groups are still committed to cleaning up the smog.

The Environmental Protection Agency has stricter air quality standards that were supposed to be implemented this year.

Now they’ve pushed back the requirements to 2018.

But that doesn’t deter Houstonians from continuing to strive for cleaner air.

Bakeyah Nelson is with Air Alliance Houston.

“We are going to continue our advocacy to reduce pollution levels that contribute to ozone formation,” Nelson says.

The standard says cities must help reduce the ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70.

Nelson says in order for Houston to reach that goal– industries need to implement new air quality technology, driving must be reduced, and more infrastructure for bikes and walking needs to be built.

Researchers like Jay Olaguer, with the Houston Advanced Research Center says it doesn’t matter how much time the EPA gives for planning, it comes down to funding.

“In the past we’ve been very productive in sponsoring and actually performing the actual research needed to address the issues,” Olaguer says. “But it’s a bad funding climate right now for people who do research in general, let alone ozone research.”

The American Lung Association ranks Houston 6th for high ozone days out of 220 cities in the U.S.

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