11/17/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Getting It Right at the EPA

Wonderful things do happen. Stephen Johnson, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has proposed a public health protecting air quality standard for lead -- one that is actually more stringent and health-oriented than was expected, and  that is even better than the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board. The new standards tighten the allowable lead level by a factor of 10 down to 0.15 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air.

"America's air is cleaner than a generation ago," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "With these stronger standards a new generation of Americans are being protected from harmful lead emissions."

The existing air standard for lead, 1.5 micrograms, was set 30 years ago and, since that time, science has demonstrated that lead is much more hazardous to health than was previously understood.

Johnson was under intense pressure from business to set a much weaker standard; he was almost certainly under intense pressure from the White House to respond to business. He deserves a heartfelt vote of thanks from every American.