NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The 5th Circuit backed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to approve a smog-fighting plan in Houston that environmentalists challenged as falling short of federal health limits for ozone-forming pollution.
The Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention, or the GHASP, argued that the EPA should have used a more aggressive approach to tackle the city’s smog problem, and that it endorsed the strategy without properly analyzing ozone levels.
The court ruled that the agency based its decision on sound science that’s “reasonable and entitled to deference.”
The EPA approved the smog plan in September 2006, in order to get Houston into compliance with federal ozone limits. Ozone is formed when emissions from refineries, chemical plants and vehicle tailpipes mix with sunlight to create a toxic, colorless gas that can damages people’s lungs and cause headaches and nausea.
The agency tightened its ozone restrictions in March, which means Houston will likely need to revise its smog plan.