Polluters Rejoice! Obama Caves on Proposed Ozone Standard

This morning, President Obama announced that he would direct the EPA to back off of new ozone standards that would have saved an estimated 12,000 lives [PDF]. They’ll revisit it in 2013.

Get used to it.

Obama said the action was taken in the interest of “reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover,” but environmental groups slammed the decision as “a huge win for corporate polluters,” in the words of League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski.

NRDC President Frances Beinecke said, “The Clean Air Act clearly requires the Environmental Protection Agency to set protective standards against smog — based on science and the law. The White House now has polluted that process with politics.” Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said she was “disappointed” with the decision.

The decision has a major impact on efforts to reform transportation, NRDC’s Deron Lovaas told Streetsblog.

“It frankly makes our job harder, in terms of reducing pollution from mobile sources,” Lovaas said. “If they had set the standard closer to 60 parts per billion, as opposed to 80, regions and states would have to get really serious about transit, and really serious about smart growth, and really serious about reducing vehicle miles traveled, because the gains couldn’t all be made through better technology.”

Business interests had long lobbied against the tighter standards, and they expressed their pleasure at the president’s announcement. The Chamber of Commerce cheered the move, rationalizing that by waiting for the statutorily-required rule-making in 2013, the EPA “can base its decision on the most recent science, not 2006 science.”

According to the National Review, some Republicans had called the ozone requirements “the single most harmful regulation proposed by the administration” and estimated that the total cost of implementation would have been “at least $1 trillion over a decade and millions of jobs.” House Speaker John Boehner called Obama’s concession to polluters “a good first step” and said he was glad the White House “recognized the job-killing impact of this particular regulation.”

Did we mention it would have saved 12,000 lives?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Update: House Gives Free Pass to Cement Polluters

|
Just to give a quick update on the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act that we reported on yesterday: The House passed the bill 262 to 161 in a not-quite-party-line vote. None of Rep. Henry Waxman’s amendments were accepted. In fact, no amendments were accepted. All were offered by Democrats. The House then moved on to discuss a […]

Obama Adviser: If EPA is Blocked on Emissions, Forget About CAFE Deal

|
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Lisa Jackson extended an olive branch this week to lawmakers who are pushing to block her from regulating carbon emissions in the absence of a congressional climate bill, but Jackson’s promise to delay action until next year appears to have made no headway with Republicans and coal-state Democrats.  Carol Browner, […]

EPA Okays Stronger Auto Emissions Standards Now in CA, 13 Other States

|
(Photo: theweeklydriver.com) The Environmental Protection Agency today granted California’s request for a waiver allowing greater limits on auto tailpipe emissions, a move that effectively speeds up the phasing-in of the Obama administration’s fuel-efficiency standards in as many as 13 other states. The EPA billed its decision, which was widely expected and fulfills a campaign promise […]

EPA to Declare CO2 a Pollutant, Release Final Fuel-Efficiency Rules

|
Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson made news on two fronts in a meeting with reporters yesterday: she is preparing to officially declare carbon dioxide a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and release the final version of the Obama administration’s new fuel economy standard for autos. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson (Photo: Legal Planet) Neither […]

Final Obama Fuel-Efficiency Rule Gives Breaks to Electric, Luxury Cars

|
The Obama administration today released its final rule raising U.S. auto fuel-efficiency standards to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2016, winning plaudits from environmental groups while offering extra benefits to makers of electric and luxury cars. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, at left, with EPA chief Lisa Jackson at right. (Photo: Getty […]

The New Way to “Screw Obama” — Poisoning Your Neighbors’ Air

|
Warning: The crazies are getting crazier. Behold the new depth to which macho car culture, blatant anti-environmentalism, and Obama hating has sunk. “Coal rollers” retrofit their pickup trucks to “trick” the diesel engines into thinking they need more gas. The result: big, billowing plumes of black smoke — the better to spew at Priuses and […]