New EPA Procedure Improves Transparency on Air Standards

June 3, 2009

Environmental groups say the Obama EPA's partial reversal of a Bush-era procedure for setting health-based standards under the Clean Air Act will improve transparency.

The law requires the EPA to review its health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards every five years. The Bush administration ended a previous procedure under which air experts would produce a "staff paper" for review by scientists and the public before the Administrator actually set standards. Under the Bush procedure, staff recommendations and scientific input were obscured, and decisions on public health were made directly by political appointees.
 
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson restored the staff paper and added a public meeting to be held before standards are set.