Oliver Willis

Obama Wimps Out Again, Air Remains Dirty

Lucy pulls the football away.

President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.

The move represented a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone new restrictions on ground-level ozone—known as smog—until 2013 in light of the current economic downturn.

In a statement, Obama praised EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s effort to improve the nation’s air quality, but said he had asked her to withdraw the draft standards since they were scheduled to be reconsidered two years from now anyway.

“Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013,” Obama said. “Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.”