Here’s what you need to know about Obama’s new rules on ozone and smog


Now this is something to be thankful for: The air you breathe will soon be a little cleaner.

Federal officials love to bury controversial news by releasing it around a holiday. Cue today’s announcement from the EPA that it is proposing new rules to reduce smog. Why would that be controversial, you might wonder? Here we answer that question, and all the others you might have:

What is this about?

The allowable density of ground-level ozone, aka smog.

But isn’t ozone good for the environment? I vaguely remember the hole in the ozone layer being a problem.

In the stratosphere, ozone blocks out skin-damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun, which is a good thing. But at ground level, ozone is a pollutant than can imperil lung function, which is a bad thing.

How is ozone created?

Chemicals released in industrial processes – mainly nitrous oxide from fossil fuel combustion, but also…

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