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Dirty Air Keeps the Money Coming

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Well, looks like we can all breathe a deep polluted sigh of relief— the EPA has, in fact, ruled that the Chicago area remains out of compliance with the federal Clean Air Act's ozone standards. Thanks to the acceptance of last-minute data from a single Lake County monitoring station, the region has clung to $80M a year in green transportation funds. That money will translate into new bike trails and mass transit projects, really anything that mitigates vehicular air pollution. Perversely, those in favor of the earlier tentative ruling that we were in compliance are mostly business interests who would then enjoy eased permitting for new or expanded factories and the curtailment of pollution controls. So, it's good to underperform? Or is the system just one big joke? [Crain's]