September 5, 2011
President Obama has decided not to update federal ozone standards for air pollution. The decision to back off the controversial new air pollution rule is being criticized by environmentalists but praised by industry groups. The White House says the decision was an effort to remove the uncertainty for businesses that would be affected and reduce the regulatory load.
When Congress passed the Clean Air Act of 1970 it required the EPA to review the allowed pollution levels every five years. A new ozone standard was set by the Bush administration in 2008 but was set at 75 parts per billion. A panel of scientists recommended a range between 60 and 70 parts per billion and clean air groups went to court to change the standard. But nearly 200 business groups asked the President to delay the new standard until at least 2013.
Ozone pollution, when combined with other pollutants to form smog, contributes to a host of health problems including asthma, heart and lung problems. Advocates of the stricter air pollution standards say it would save the country money that is currently lost when Americans get sick from air pollution.