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Josef Shomperlen Milwaukee

WATCH: Vine version 2.0 hyped by founder

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Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/video/vine-version-20-hyped-founder-51641357

WATCH: Anheuser-Busch purchases Tesla’s self-driving Semi trucks

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Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/video/anheuser-busch-purchases-teslas-driving-semi-trucks-51665579

German intelligence warns of increased Chinese cyberspying

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned Sunday that China allegedly is using social networks to try to cultivate lawmakers and other officials as sources.

Hans-Georg Maassen said his agency, known by its German acronym BfV, believes more than 10,000 Germans have been targeted by Chinese intelligence agents posing as consultants, headhunters or researchers, primarily on the social networking site LinkedIn.

“This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies,” Maassen said.

In addition, Chinese hackers increasingly are launching attacks on European companies through trusted suppliers, he alleged.

The BfV established a task force early this year which examined the use of fake profiles on social networks over nine months. The agency provided journalists with what it said were eight of the most prolific fake profiles on LinkedIn used by alleged Chinese spies.

Using names such as Lily Wu, Laeticia Chen or Alex Li, the profiles sport impressive resumes, hundreds of contacts and attractive pictures of young professionals.

The agency also named six organizations it alleged Chinese spies use to cloak their approaches, including one called the Association France Euro-Chine and another named Global View Strategic Consulting.

Messages seeking comment from the organizations weren’t immediately returned.

Maassen warned that Chinese cybergroups also were using so-called “supply-chain attacks” to get around companies’ online defenses.

Such attacks target IT workers and others who work for trusted service providers to send malicious software into the networks of organizations the attackers are interested in.

“The infections are difficult to detect, since network connections between service providers and their customers aren’t suspicious,” the BfV said. “This gives the attacker an even better disguise than before.”

———

Frank Jordans contributed to this report.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/german-intelligence-warns-increased-chinese-cyberspying-51698993

Officials: Whales, after deadly year, could become extinct

Officials with the federal government say it’s time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them.

North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest marine mammals in the world, and they have endured a deadly year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said there are only about 450 of the whales left and 17 of them have died so far in 2017.

The situation is so dire that American and Canadian regulators need to consider the possibility that the population won’t recover without action soon, said John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. The high year of mortality is coinciding with a year of poor reproduction, and there are only about 100 breeding female North Atlantic right whales left.

“You do have to use the extinction word, because that’s where the trend lines say they are,” Bullard said. “That’s something we can’t let happen.”

Bullard and other NOAA officials made the comments during a Tuesday meeting of the regulatory New England Fishery Management Council. Mark Murray-Brown, an Endangered Species Act consultant for NOAA, said right whales have been declining in abundance since 2010, with females hit harder than males.

The U.S. and Canada must work to reduce the human-caused deaths of the whales, Murray-Brown said. Vessel-strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are two frequently cited causes of the whales’ deaths.

“The current status of the right whales is a critical situation, and using our available resources to recover right whales is of high importance and high urgency,” he said.

The animals give birth in temperate southern waters and then head to New England and Canada every spring and summer to feed. All of this year’s deaths were off of New England and Canada.

Some recent scientific studies have shed some light on why whale deaths have ticked up. One, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, stated that the whales move around much more than previously thought. Some scientists have posited that whales might be venturing outside of protected areas in search of food, putting themselves in harm’s way.

In another study, published last month in the journal Endangered Species Research, scientists examined right whale feces and found whales that suffer long entanglements in fishing gear produce hormone levels that indicate high stress. The stress negatively impacts their ability to reproduce even when they survive entanglement, scientists said.

“My colleagues are trying to find solutions so we can find out how they can continue to fish, but not entangle whales,” said a study co-author, Elizabeth Burgess, an associate scientist with the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston.

A five-year NOAA review of right whales that was released in October said the animals should remain on the endangered list. It also included recommendations to protect the species. They included developing a long-term plan for monitoring the population trends and habitat use, and studying the impact of commercial fishing on right whales.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/officials-whales-deadly-year-extinct-51699640

Bitcoin soars then falls back; banks raise risk concerns

The price of bitcoin swung wildly Thursday, rising to more than $19,000 only to fall sharply within minutes, as both the euphoria and anxiety surrounding the virtual currency escalated just days before trading in bitcoin futures begins on a major U.S. exchange.

The concerns about its volatility have led some Wall Street banks and trade groups to raise concerns about the potential implications of trading bitcoin. Banks also appear likely to limit customers’ access to the futures when they first start trading.

Bitcoin was valued at $17,167 as of 6:00 p.m. EST, according to large bitcoin exchange Coinbase, after briefly surging above $19,000 Thursday morning. At the start of the year, one bitcoin was worth less than $1,000.

Bitcoin’s wild swings occurred as Wall Street prepares for bitcoin futures to start trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday evening and on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange a week later. The futures are designed to reflect the price of bitcoin without an investor having to physically hold the currency, not unlike how oil, gold, copper or cocoa prices are determined by futures contracts.

Yet the dawn of futures trading has some parties on Wall Street concerned. A group of banks, brokerages and clearinghouses came out and complained that federal regulators approved the futures too quickly and without properly considering the risks inherent in bitcoin.

The Futures Industry Association, a trade association that represents Wall Street banks, brokerages and clearinghouses, sent a letter to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission this week, saying the institutions should have been consulted before trading in bitcoin futures was approved. The association’s members expressed concern that they could be on the hook for large sums of money if extreme volatility in bitcoin resulted in big losses for some customers.

Goldman Sachs, one of the nation biggest investment banks, said it will allow only a limited number of clients to trade the CBOE’s bitcoin futures when they launch next week. Bank of America will not allow clients access to the futures.

A person familiar with the matter said JPMorgan Chase will not allow clients access to the futures on the first trading day, and will make an evaluation after that based on what it sees in the futures market. This person requested anonymity because the decision hasn’t yet been announced publicly.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Citigroup will also not allow clients access to bitcoin futures, although a Citi spokesman declined to comment. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Thomas Peterffy, chairman of the broker-dealer Interactive Brokers Group, expressed deep concerns about the trading of bitcoin futures last month, saying “there is no fundamental basis for valuation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and they may assume any price from one day to the next.”

Peterffy noted that if bitcoin futures were trading at that time, under the CBOE’s rules those futures likely would experience repeated trading halts because of limits on how high or low the price can move during the trading day.

The futures signal more mainstream acceptance of the currency, but also open up bitcoin to additional market forces. Futures allow for the shorting of bitcoin — that is betting that the price of bitcoin will go down — which presently is very difficult to near impossible to do. With the currency’s tremendous run up in price in recent days, it could become a target for those who doubt that it deserves its current lofty value.

The frenzy of interest and the rapid rise in the price of bitcoin has put significant strain on the major bitcoin exchanges. Coinbase, the largest bitcoin exchange, at one point tweeted that record-high traffic had caused interruptions to its service. Bitfinex, which trades several digital currencies including Bitcoin, tweeted out that it had suffered an unusual surge in traffic the last few days.

Bitcoin is the world’s most popular virtual currency. Such currencies are not tied to a bank or government and allow users to spend money anonymously. They are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they are traded.

A debate is raging on the merits of such currencies. Some say they serve merely to facilitate money laundering and illicit, anonymous payments. Others say they can be helpful methods of payment, such as in crisis situations where national currencies have collapsed.

Miners of bitcoins and other virtual currencies help keep the systems honest by having their computers keep a global running tally of transactions. That prevents cheaters from spending the same digital coin twice.

Online security is a vital concern for such dealings.

In Japan, following the failure of a bitcoin exchange called Mt. Gox, new laws were enacted to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014, saying it lost about 850,000 bitcoins, possibly to hackers.

Earlier Thursday, NiceHash, a company that mines bitcoins on behalf of customers, said it is investigating a breach that may have resulted in the theft of about $70 million worth of bitcoin.

———

Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/bitcoin-soars-falls-back-banks-raise-risk-concerns-51650395

AP FACT CHECK: Net-neutrality claims leave out key context

Seeking to dispel “myths” about net neutrality, the Trump administration’s telecom chief instead put out his own incomplete and misleading talking points when he suggested that internet providers had never influenced content available to their customers before neutrality rules took effect in 2015.

Iffy claims have come from the other side of the debate, too, such as the notion that federal regulators had never stepped in to make those providers change their service plans. Although no such cases were brought, the Federal Communications Commission was possibly on track to do so when the new administration stopped the investigation.

The debate is over Obama-era rules that the FCC chairman, chosen by President Donald Trump, wants to roll back. The rules prevent phone and cable companies from favoring certain websites and apps and give the FCC more oversight over privacy and the activities of telecom companies. ATT, Comcast and Verizon are among the service providers that have opposed the FCC rules, as have many Republican officials, saying they hurt investment in internet infrastructure and represent too much government involvement in business. Internet companies, consumer-advocacy groups and Democratic officials have generally been in favor of net-neutrality rules.

A look at a few of the arguments and the facts behind them:

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AFTER A REPEAL

Net-neutrality supporters warn that without these rules in place, service providers could block any website or app they want, or degrade service so much that it doesn’t work well. They could also charge extra to use certain apps or websites.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says there’s no reason to worry about service providers blocking websites or charging extra for certain content. “This didn’t happen before the Obama Administration’s 2015 heavy-handed Internet regulations, and it won’t happen after they are repealed,” his office said in a document last week attempting to bust myths.

THE FACTS: His statement was silent on blocking apps and services. There are a few instances of broadband companies interfering with such services, which the FCC notes in its own proposal to undo the net-neutrality rules. For example, The Associated Press in 2007 uncovered that Comcast was blocking or delaying file-sharing on the BitTorrent network. ATT did not allow internet calling services like Skype on its cellular network for iPhone users until 2009.

As for charging extra for certain content, low-cost mobile carrier MetroPCS had just YouTube video on its network for its cheapest plan in 2011. Its pricier plans had more options. The FCC says this was because MetroPCS’ network for its cheapest plan was too slow to handle anything but specially compressed videos from YouTube.

———

WHO REGULATES?

Pai said that after repealing the net-neutrality rules, regulation of internet service and broadband privacy would shift from the FCC to another agency. In a speech last week, Pai said that “if companies engage in unfair, deceptive, or anticompetitive practices, the Federal Trade Commission would be able to take action.”

THE FACTS: Not so, if a court case now in motion blocks the trade commission’s ability to do so. By law, the FTC can’t take action against a common carrier — a provider of essential services such as landline or mobile voice service. Existing net-neutrality regulations also classify broadband data providers as common carriers, but that would change if the rules are repealed. But a 2016 federal appeals court ruling further restricted the FTC’s purview, saying it can’t regulate ATT at all because it has common-carrier services, even if the service in question isn’t one. That could bar FTC oversight of not just ATT, but also Verizon and Comcast, which offers mobile-phone service as well. The FTC could still have jurisdiction over Charter, at least until it launches a mobile-phone service planned for next year.

The appeals court reheard this case in September, setting aside the earlier ruling, and a decision is pending. If the court again rules against the FTC, that could mean neither the FTC nor the FCC can oversee broadband service from many companies once the FCC’s net-neutrality rules go away. The FCC and FTC both declined to comment on what would happen then.

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OVERTURNING SERVICE PLANS

In 2015, Pai said that the FCC gained a “mandate to review business models and upend pricing plans that benefit consumers.” He said the FCC was targeting plans with data caps and “sponsored data” plans that exempted some services from those caps. An example of such a plan: If an ATT cellphone customer subscribes to ATT’s streaming video service, DirecTV Now, watching DirecTV Now on the ATT cellphone wouldn’t use up the customer’s data. Watching Netflix on that phone will — so Netflix effectively becomes more expensive to watch than DirecTV Now.

Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, defending the commission from criticism that it had been overbearing, said in a document Thursday that it never “upended” service plans.

THE FACTS: True, but the net-neutrality rules give the FCC authority to take action against service providers that exempt certain apps from data caps in a way that hurts consumers or competition. The agency might indeed have done so had Democrats remained in charge.

In the final weeks of the Obama administration, the FCC criticized ATT and Verizon for letting customers watch video services owned by the carriers without using up cellphone data. The FCC said this could hurt video services that weren’t owned by the carriers. Pai scrapped the investigation soon after he took office. It’s not clear if the FCC would have tried to stop ATT’s and Verizon’s plans had Hillary Clinton won the election.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/ap-fact-check-net-neutrality-claims-leave-key-51568774

Biologists: Grizzly numbers hold steady around Yellowstone

Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone National Park are holding relatively steady, according to figures released Thursday, as state wildlife officials begin discussions on whether to hold the first public hunts for the animals in decades.

There are an estimated 718 bears in the Yellowstone region that includes portions of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, according to the leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

That’s up slightly from last year’s tally of 695 bruins, but is not considered a significant increase because of uncertainties around the estimates, said study team leader Frank van Manen with the U.S. Geological Survey.

“The population has been at a pretty stable level since the early 2000s,” van Manen said. “If that number had been lower by 15 or 20 bears, I would have said the same thing.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in July removed protections for Yellowstone grizzlies that had been in place since 1975, turning over management of the animals to the three states.

Hunting is part of the states’ grizzly management strategy. But details have yet to be worked out and state officials have consistently said any hunts would be limited to a small number of bears so as not to endanger the overall population.

“None of the states at this point in time are actively planning for hunts, but they are beginning dialogues with various members of the public about what that would look like” said Gregg Losinksi with Idaho Fish and Game.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon said Montana officials are focused on building public trust on grizzly management. There are no active discussions about future hunts in the state, Lemon said.

Even without hunts bears have been dying at a steady rate. More than 50 were killed in each of the past three years due to conflicts with hunters, highway accidents and management removals of bears that preyed on livestock.

“More than 150 bears dying in the last three years because of run-ins with hunters and cars and cows is just too many,” said Beth Kampschror with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a conservation group. “We’re asking the states and agencies to do more to keep people safe and bears alive.”

Other wildlife advocates and American Indian tribes have sued to restore federal protections.

The tribes say killing grizzlies violates the spiritual beliefs of their members. Wildlife advocates argue that hunting could reverse the species’ hard-fought recovery from near extermination in the last century.

The National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, a hunting group, have asked the judge overseeing most of the lawsuits for permission to intervene in the cases. They want to make sure their members have a chance to hunt grizzlies.

——

Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/matthewbrownap .

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/biologists-grizzly-numbers-steady-yellowstone-51498453

Russia claims radioactivity spike not due to nuclear plant

Russian authorities denied Friday that a radioactivity spike in the air over Europe this fall resulted from a nuclear fuel processing plant leak in the Ural mountains, saying their probe has found no release of radioactivity there.

Vladimir Boltunov of Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear corporation said an inspection of the Mayak nuclear plant has proven that it wasn’t the source of Ruthenium-106, a radioactive isotope spotted in the air over Europe and Russia in late September and early October.

France’s nuclear safety agency said last month that increased levels of Ruthenium-106 were recorded over most of Europe but posed no health or environmental risks.

The Russian panel that involved experts from Rosatom and other agencies failed to identify where the isotope came from, but alleged it could have come from a satellite that came down from its orbit and disintegrated in the atmosphere.

Nuclear safety expert Rafael Arutyunian said while isotopes of plutonium, cesium or strontium are normally used as power sources for satellites, it can’t be excluded that Ruthenium-106 could have been used in some satellite equipment.

The assumption that the isotope came from a crashing satellite would explain its broad spread over Europe, he argued.

Arutyunian, deputy head of the Institute for Safe Nuclear Energy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that a broader panel will continue investigating the radioactivity.

Last month, the Russian state meteorological office reported high levels of Ruthenium-106 in late September in areas close to Mayak, but Arutyunian and other experts emphasized that they were still tens of thousand times less than the level that would pose health risks.

The environmental group Greenpeace alleged that Mayak could have been the source of a Ruthenium-106 leak, but the panel insisted the plant doesn’t extract the isotope or conduct any other operations that may lead to its release.

The commission said a thorough inspection of the plant had found no safety breaches and checks of its personnel also hadn’t detected any trace of the isotope.

Vyacheslav Usoltsev of Rosatom’s safety inspectorate said a sophisticated monitoring system at the plant would have spotted any release of radiation.

The panel also noted that while increased levels of Ruthenium-106 were spotted in the Urals and over Europe, they weren’t detected over a 2,000-kilometer (1,250-mile) swath of land between the Urals and Russia’s western border. It argued that if the source of the leak were on the ground, it would have spread the trace of Ruthenium-106 midway.

Mayak, in the Chelyabinsk region, saw one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents on Sept. 29, 1957, when a waste tank exploded. That contaminated 23,000 square kilometers (9,200 square miles) and prompted authorities to evacuate 10,000 residents from neighboring regions.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/russia-spike-radioactivity-unrelated-nuclear-plant-51665118

Scientists call on US to allow research on pot meds for pets

Dr. Byron Maas surveys a supply of marijuana products for dogs that lines a shelf in his veterinary clinic. They’re selling well.

“The ‘Up and Moving’ is for joints and for pain,” he explains. “The ‘Calm and Quiet’ is for real anxious dogs, to take away that anxiety.”

People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. But there’s little data on whether they work, or if they have harmful side effects.

That’s because Washington has been standing in the way of clinical trials, veterinarians and researchers say. Now, a push is underway to have barriers removed, so both pets and people can benefit.

Those barriers have had more than just a chilling effect.

When the federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced last year that even marijuana extracts with CBD and little or no THC – marijuana’s intoxicating component – are an illegal Schedule 1 drug, the University of Pennsylvania halted its clinical trials. Colorado State University is pushing ahead.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned companies that sell marijuana products online and via pet shops and animal hospitals that they’re violating laws by offering “unapproved new animal drugs.” The FDA threatened legal action.

But, seeing potential benefits of CBDs, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s policy-making body said last summer it wants the DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug “to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.” It asked the board of the national veterinarians’ organization to investigate working with other stakeholders toward that goal. The board is awaiting a recommendation from two group councils.

“The concern our membership has is worry about people extrapolating their own dosages, looking to medicate their pets outside the realm of the medical professional,” Board Chairman Michael Whitehair said in a telephone interview. “This is an important reason for us to continue the research.”

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican, became an unlikely champion of this push when he introduced a bill in September that would open the path for more clinical research. While Hatch said he opposes recreational marijuana use, he wants marijuana-based drugs, regulated by the FDA, produced for people with disorders.

“We lack the science to support use of medical marijuana products like CBD oils, not because researchers are unwilling to do the work, but because of bureaucratic red tape and over-regulation,” Hatch said.

Dawn Boothe, of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is waiting for federal approval to begin a study of marijuana’s effects on dogs with epilepsy. The classification of marijuana products containing CBD as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin and LSD, creates a “major, major, major, terrible roadblock” for researchers, Boothe said in a phone interview.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine were studying CBDs’ effects on dogs with osteoarthritis and pruritis, or itchiness, until the DEA released its policy statement.

“The ambiguity in this process has really brought us to a screeching halt,” said Michael DiGregorio, director of the university’s clinical trials center. “It is research that needs to be done, because there are a lot of CBD products out there.”

When it clarified that marijuana CBD extracts are Schedule 1 drugs, the DEA said it was assigning a code number to those substances to better track them and to comply with international drug control treaties.

DiGregorio complained that researchers seeking federal approval to study CBD products are told to provide certain data, but that data isn’t normally available until the study is done.

“If you don’t have the data, you can’t get the registration to do the work,” he said.

On a recent morning, Maas took a break from seeing four-legged patients in the Bend Veterinary Clinic. A stethoscope dangling from his neck over green scrubs, Maas said his clients have reported CBDs help relieve pain, arthritis, anxiety, loss of appetite, epilepsy and inflammation in their pets.

“Unfortunately there’s not a lot of research out there, especially on animals, on CBD compounds,” Maas said. “The research is really necessary to help us understand how to actually use these compounds on our pets.”

Veterinarian Janet Ladyga of the Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic, also in Bend, said she doesn’t recommend marijuana products because of the unknowns.

“We don’t have a lot of evidence right now, so we don’t know the toxicity or the safety profile … and we don’t have any good evidence to show either if it’s safe or efficacious,” she said.

The study at Colorado State University aims to provide some data. The roughly two dozen dogs in the arthritis study and the 30 in the epilepsy tests are given either CBD oil or a placebo. For the arthritis study, activity monitors are attached to the animals’ collars, to determine if they’re more mobile when they’re taking CBD.

Principal investigator Stephanie McGrath said she hopes the results will be a stepping stone for longer and more diverse studies, and that they provide useful information for human medicine.

“Every medication we’re taking has been given to a dog first,” the University of Pennsylvania’s DiGregorio noted.

Meanwhile, Boothe said she had everything ready to start her study in January, and was waiting for a green light from federal officials.

“I don’t know what’s taking so long,” she said.

———

Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/scientists-call-us-research-pot-meds-pets-51638936

US fails to enforce smog rules, 14 states allege in lawsuit

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia announced Thursday that they are suing the Trump administration over what they say is a failure to enforce smog standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not designated any areas of the country as having unhealthy air, missing an Oct. 1 deadline, according to the lawsuit. Such areas must take steps to improve their air quality.

Poor air quality particularly affects the health of children, people with asthma and those who work outside, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led and announced the filing. The lawsuit says smog can cause or aggravate diseases including heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema.

“Lives can be saved if the EPA implements these standards,” he said in a statement.

Becerra was joined by the attorneys general in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state. Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency also joined the suit.

The EPA said the agency’s policy is not to comment on litigation.

The suit is the latest allegation by Democratic officials in California and other states that the Trump administration is illegally delaying environmental actions as it attempts to unwind rules set under former President Barack Obama.

Becerra, for instance, noted that he previously sued Trump officials for what he calls an illegal delay of a rule encouraging automakers to create vehicle fleets that meet or exceed federal fuel efficiency standards.

Clean Air Act standards require that smog-producing ground-level ozone be kept below levels the federal government decides won’t affect public health. The lawsuit says the EPA missed its deadline to say which regions are not meeting the most recent standards set by the Obama administration in 2015.

The EPA determined, in setting the ozone standards, that the required reductions would produce billions of dollars’ worth of health benefits annually despite the costs of complying.

Failing to designate regions who are not complying deprives state and local regulators of crucial regulatory tools not otherwise available, according to the lawsuit. States were required under the law to recommend which areas they believe are not meeting the standards.

Nationwide, the tighter restrictions were projected to save between 316 and 660 lives each year, prevent nearly 900 hospital visits and keep children from missing 160,000 school days, bringing $4.5 billion in health benefits. That includes up to 218 saved lives and $1.3 billion in savings in California alone from a reduction in health care costs, lost workdays and school absences, according to the lawsuit.

The EPA tried in June to extend its deadline to Oct. 1, 2018, but then withdrew the proposed extension in the face of lawsuits from states and advocacy groups.

Last month, it designated some areas as meeting standards but said it was postponing any decisions on regions that weren’t complying, including densely populated and high-risk urban areas, until “a separate future action,” the suit says. The agency didn’t say when it would act.

Efforts by states and regional air districts to reduce emissions from motor vehicles and other sources will be more difficult as the climate warms, California Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey said.

He said the EPA has had the information it needs to make the required designations for months without acting. The lawsuit asks a judge to order the EPA to act promptly.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/14-states-sue-allege-us-failure-enforce-smog-51652671