The Obama Administration announced Friday that it will not pursue the long-awaited EPA ozone rule, awarding a huge win for big polluters. The rule—which the EPA had previously announced would be issued shortly—was intended to curb harmful smog pollution that has serious impacts on public health.
"The Obama Administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. The League of Conservations Voters Gene Karpinski said. “This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health."
The Administration claimed the rule would be a regulatory burden and cause uncertainty for businesses and state governments, given that current ozone standards are scheduled for review in 2013.
But multiple health organizations, including the American Lung Association, and EPA scientists supported the ozone rules because the current standards—implemented in 2006 by a weakened EPA operating under the Bush Administration—are not strong enough to protect public health. These ozone standards, they note, would prevent thousands of premature deaths each year.
The announcement comes in a year that has already seen over 2,000 code orange air quality alerts.