Obama halts EPA smog rules

(Flickr/Rahim Sonawalla)

In capitulation to business interests that objected to the proposed rules, President Obama has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to tighten ozone regulations.

The Huffington Post reports:

Obama overruled the Environmental Protection Agency – and the unanimous opinion of its independent panel of scientific advisers – and directed administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the proposed regulation to reduce concentrations of ground-level ozone, smog’s main ingredient. The decision rests in part on reducing regulatory burdens and uncertainty for businesses at a time of rampant uncertainty about an unsteady economy.

Ozone contributes to smog which is associated with respiratory and other health problems and the strengthened regulations were expected to save billions in health care costs.

The Sierra Club said that it will continue to push the Obama administration to tighten smog rules.

“By putting the interest of coal and oil polluters first, the White House seems to be saying that ‘clean air will have to wait,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. “Half of U.S. families live in places where it is literally unsafe to breathe the air, and kicking the inhaler down the road will do nothing to protect our children.”

James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environmental policy at the free market Heartland Institute called on Obama to continue undoing environmental rules:

“While President Obama’s announcement that he is withdrawing EPA’s draft ozone standards is a welcome development, EPA continues down the path of economic destruction by imposing costly carbon dioxide restrictions in the name of fighting speculative global warming. If the president is serious about relieving EPA’s oppressive burden on America’s economy, he will call off the dogs regarding EPA’s carbon dioxide restrictions, as well.”

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