Infuriating: President Obama Backs Down on Ozone Standards
That’s a tweet from Politico’s national political reporter Manu Raju.
After much debate about upcoming EPA regulation of air quality standards, the President has backed down on creating a new ozone standard:
[A]fter careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time. Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013. Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement:
“The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health.”
UPDATE: Daniel Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, comments ”It’s unfortunate that the Administration is siding with big oil over the health of children, seniors, and the infirm.”
The administration’s fecklessness is no doubt based on some crass political (mis)calculation. But in fact the standard would not have any noticeable negative impact on the economy and, if anything, would have driven investment and innovation even in the short term. The biggest uncertainty businesses have now is “what the heck will Obama do next?” since the President appears to have no coherent and consistent philosophy guiding his economic and environmental decisions.
And as for how this plays out with the voters, it’s one more move that disempowers a core constituency. It also misses a chance to win over the biggest block of independent voters, those who want to preserve clean air and clean water for their kids. As a May Pew poll found, 71% of Americans say “This country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment.”