Obama Asks EPA to Drop Ozone Standards

by Andrew Stiles

The Hill reports:

The White House announced Friday that it is shelving a major planned Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would have tightened smog standards, dealing a huge blow to environmentalists that had pushed the Obama administration to resist industry pressure to abandon the regulation.

In a statement, President Obama said that the rule is being shelved because he is wary of imposing regulatory burdens during the economic recovery.

The decision follows immense pressure from industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, that had lobbied hard against the EPA decision to tighten Bush-era ozone standards.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the top regulatory official for the administration said Obama “does not support finalizing the [smog] rule at this time.”

This is a clear victory for businesses, as well as House Republicans, who identified the EPA’s new smog standards as one of ten job-destroying regulations. I wrote about that list here:

EPA Ozone Rule: His cap-and-trade legislation having failed to win the support of Congress, President Obama has sought to push ahead with his environmental agenda through the EPA and the creation of strict new ozone-pollution standards. Many Republicans view this as the single most harmful regulation proposed by the administration and estimate that the total cost of implementation will be at least $1 trillion over a decade and millions of jobs. The EPA is expected to propose a readjustment of the regulatory standard for ozone from its current level of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) down to somewhere in the range of 0.060 to 0.070 ppm. Despite the fact that the normal EPA procedure doesn’t call for a review of ozone standards until 2013, the agency is expected to introduce the new rule early this fall, at which point the House Energy and Commerce Committee will take swift action to forestall its implementation.

One down, nine to go.

“This is certainly a good first step, and we’re glad that the White House responded to the Speaker’s letter and recognized the job-killing impact of this particular regulation,” said a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio). “But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stopping Washington Democrats’ agenda of tax hikes, more government ‘stimulus’ spending, and increased regulations — which are all making it harder to create more American jobs.”

The Corner

The one and only.