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WASHINGTON D.C.-In a statement this morning, President Obama announced that he had asked the Environmental Protection Agency to drop the controversial draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
In his announcement, he said, “I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time. Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013. Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.”
The Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards established under the Clean Air Act, are meant to address low level atmospheric ozone. Low level atmospheric ozone occurs when sunlight reacts with air containing nitrogen oxide and other similar hydrocarbons. Higher levels of ozone cause respiratory ailments and cause an estimated 12,000 deaths a year. Rules on low level ozone have been postponed four times since 2010.
This decision was quickly criticized as a surrender to the business lobby by environmental groups. League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski had this to say of the announcement, “The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health.”
On the other hand, business leaders tout this announcement as a welcome move to protect job growth. They say that imposition of these rules would have impeded job growth at a time when we need it most.
Calling this a “good first step,” House Speaker John Boehner went on to say, “But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stopping Washington Democrat’s agenda of tax hikes, more government ‘stimulus’ spending, and increased regulations – which are all making it harder to create more American jobs.”