Retreat on smog rules bad news for Marylanders

For too long, smog pollution has left our children gasping for breath ("Breathing uneasily: Obama retreats on tightening smog standards," Sept. 7). Unfortunately, rather than acting decisively to protect our kids' health and despite independent air expert recommendations, President Barack Obama recently announced that he will not update critical smog pollution standards until 2013.

Exposure to smog triggers asthma attacks, causes permanent lung damage, and can even lead to premature death. In Maryland alone, children experience 140,794 asthma attacks and adults experience 345,344 attacks every year.

A strong, science-based smog standard is especially critical for protecting Marylanders. We have already cut our smog-forming pollution dramatically thanks to the Healthy Air Act of 2006. At this point, smog in Maryland is caused mostly by our neighboring states.

We are deeply disappointed with President Obama's decision to delay cleaning up smog pollution. He and Congress must do more to protect Marylanders' health in the coming weeks and months.

Ewa Krason, Baltimore

The writer is a field organizer with Environment Maryland.

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