Today's News

Obama's delay on Clean Air standards draws sharply divided reactions

NRDC calls it "Friday Smog Massacre"

September 6, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Ozone standard delayedEnvironmental groups are condemning President Obama’s decision last week to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Obama’s action came after weeks of Republican pressure that characterized EPA regulations as “job killers.”

The Sierra Club accused Obama of putting the interest of “coal and oil polluters” first.

“A healthy economy requires clean air and healthy people, and these protections from smog would have improved our communities and saved billions of dollars in health costs,” said Executive Director Michael Brune.

John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council called Obama’s action the “Friday Smog Massacre.” In a blog post, Walke said the move means that the EPA and the Department of Justice will now have to contend with lawsuits by the American Lung Association, NRDC and a dozen states in which the agencies will have to defend Bush-era standards already deemed “not legally defensible given the scientific evidence,” by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.      

“The president sided with Big Oil and other polluters based on their claims about regulatory burden, notwithstanding that compliance with stronger smog standards would not have been required until 2016 anyway, and stronger safeguards will save the country money too,” wrote Walke.

The administration is tasked by law with updating the current standards, which were set during the Bush administration. Presidential spokesman Jay Carney rejected the suggestion that Obama’s pull back on regulations shows that his commitment to clean air might be waivering. He said the withdrawal would allow the administration to wait for “new science and new standards” and that the president did not feel that this was the time to add “regulatory uncertainty” to the economy.

The environmental group Greenpeace said groups like the American Petroleum Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce “turned on their lobbying machines to protect their bottom line.”

Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue cheered the president’s decision, citing studies that predicted revising the standards would result in a 7.3 million job reduction by 2020.   

The Chamber also pointed out that by merging this rulemaking with the statutorily-required one due in 2013, EPA can base its decision on the most recent science, not 2006 science. “This is what the Clean Air Act requires, and is consistent with the President’s recent Executive Order on Improving Regulation (EO 13563),” according to a statement.

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons called the withdrawal “the right move” and urged the administration to apply the same approach to what it termed “other burdensome regulations” that it did when deciding to forgo the ozone standard.

Democratic Congressman Ed Markey, who sits on the House Energy and Committee, said he's unhappy with the delay: “I am disappointed that the President chose to further delay important clean air protections that would have helped to prevent respiratory and cardiac disease in thousands of Americans."

The EPA’s Jackson vowed to revisit the ozone standard, in compliance with the Clean Air Act. She noted that the Obama has put in place significant reductions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide air pollution across state borders; a long-overdue proposal to cut mercury pollution from power plants; and the first-ever carbon pollution standards for cars and trucks. 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

Recent Articles by Maureen Paraventi

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN1014_cover.jpg

2014 October

This issue features articles about PPE safety and OSHA standards

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.