9 counties that won't meet Obama administration's new smog standard without taking new steps

Features Associated Press

The Obama administration is proposal stricter emissions limits on ozone, a pollutant that leads to smog and is linked to asthma and respiratory illness. The proposal calls for new ozone limits of between 65 parts per billion and 70 parts per billion, with the final level to be set next year.

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Because of existing pollution controls and emissions regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency projects that all but nine counties are positioned to meet a standard of 70 parts per billion in 2025 without taking any additional steps. That list excludes California, which is on a different timeline because its unique geography has led to smog levels that exceed those in most of the U.S.

Of the nine counties outside of California, five are in Texas, two are in Connecticut, and one each in Maryland and New York:

— Brazoria County (Texas)

Population: 329,137

Projected air quality in 2025: 74 parts per billion

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— Harris County (Texas)

Population: 4,259,951

Projected air quality in 2025: 74 parts per billion

— Dallas County (Texas)

Population: 2,415,058

Projected air quality in 2025: 71 parts per billion

— Tarrant County (Texas)

Population: 1,884,216

Projected air quality in 2025: 75 parts per billion

— Denton County (Texas)

Population: 710,841

Projected air quality in 2025: 72 parts per billion

— Hartford County (Maryland)

Population: 249,324

Projected air quality in 2025: 72 parts per billion

— New Haven County (Connecticut)

Population: 862,947

Projected air quality in 2025: 71 parts per billion

— Fairfield County (Connecticut)

Population: 926,110

Projected air quality in 2025: 73 parts per billion

— Suffolk County (New York)

Population: 1,500,247

Projected air quality in 2025: 74 parts per billion

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, 2013 population estimates.