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Cover Letter for report, "The Ozone Report: Measuring Progress through 2003" World Asthma Day: May 4, 2004

Americans have reason to celebrate! Our air is getting cleaner. And with clean air, Americans will live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

The Ozone Report: Measuring Progress through 2003 documents the nation’s progress in reducing ozone levels nationwide to the lowest they have been since 1980. The emissions which combine in sunlight to form ozone have decreased dramatically since 1970 (54% for volatile organic compounds and 25% for nitrogen oxides), even as our population grew 39%, road travel increased 45% and the economy grew 176%. We are making tremendous progress and we can do more.

President Bush has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to implement a national clean air strategy: a strategy that encompasses a suite of Clean Air Rules and a commitment to making the years ahead one of the most productive periods of air quality improvement in our nation’s history.

The Administration’s clean air actions capitalize on the power of collaboration, markets, technology and an unwavering focus on results to protect American’s health. The approach is something we call “a better way” and includes these aggressive steps:

- Implementing the most-protective ozone air quality standards in our nation’s history.

- Proposing a cost-effective way to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants by 70%.

- Regulating mercury from coal-fired power plants for the first time in our nation’s history.

- Removing forever the black puffs of smoke from construction and other non-road diesel equipment.

Together, these Clean Air Rules will build on the tremendous progress of the last 30+ years, and do it in record time. The result will be more protection, faster, ensuring that clean air and a prosperous economy will be this generation’s contribution to our children and grandchildren.


Michael O. Leavitt