Obama Cancels New EPA Smog Standards

Cough

A disappointing move from President Obama, as he lets big corporations get away with poisoning our air for at least two more years: Obama pulls back proposed smog standards, in victory for business.

President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.

The move represented a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone new restrictions on ground-level ozone—known as smog—until 2013 in light of the current economic downturn. It also raised questions about the fate of several other controversial air quality regulations EPA is preparing to finalize this year.

In a statement, Obama praised EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s effort to improve the nation’s air quality, but said he had asked her to withdraw the draft standards since they were scheduled to be reconsidered two years from now anyway.

“Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013,” Obama said. “Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.”

This means that Bush administration ozone standards declared “legally indefensible” will remain in place until 2013:

In January 2010, Jackson announced that she would set the standard somewhere between 60 and 70 parts per billion. Last month Jackson testified before the Senate that the Bush ozone standards-which will now remain in place for at least a few years “were not legally defensible given the scientific evidence in the record” of the current rulemaking.

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