Via the Washington Post
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.
The proposed rule was designed to undo serious malfeasance by the Bush administration:
The federal government normally reviews the standards for ground-level ozone—which includes a ”primary” one for public health and a “secondary” one aimed at the environment-- every five years. But Jackson chose to revisit the standard, which was set under the Bush administration at 75 parts per billion in March 2008, because that level was significantly higher than the 60 to 70 ppb recommended by the EPA’s scientific advisory committee at the time.
In January 2010, Jackson announced that she would set the standard somewhere between 60 and 70 parts per billion.
But look at the time horizon for compliance:
The proposed rule is so contentious because it requires counties to keep local pollution in check or risk losing federal funds, thereby halting or delaying the permitting of new industrial facilities. While the most polluted areas will have up to 20 years to meet the new standards, business leaders suggest it could stop certain operations from expanding once the economy rebounds.
So even though we're talking about a two-decade window to achieve compliance, why is Obama doing this? Because it would cost big business money:
Obama earlier this week wrote House Speaker John Boehner identifying the costliest draft regulations, and the ozone rule was the costliest, with a negative impact estimated between $19 billion and $90 billion.
I'm sure this will appease John Boehner, right? Via Jamie Dupree on Twitter:
Spokesman for Speaker Boehner calls today's White House withdrawal of ozone rules "a good first step"
Can't wait to see what other regulations protecting the health of American citizens are on the table. Man this is dispiriting.