Obama Bows Out on Pending Smog Rule

Photo by Thomas Locke Hobbs. Some rights reserved.

Earlier today, a U.S. Senate panel approved a $31.6 billion federal budget for energy and water related programs, and though the panel was led by Democrats, the final total ended up being roughly $5 billion less than the amount originally requested by President Obama, as a means of lowering the federal deficit.

While this is certainly not devastating news for environmental advocates, there was some additional salt thrown in the wound today, as President Obama also announced today in an official statement that he would be shelving a major EPA regulation that would have drastically tightened smog standards in the US.  The rule had already come under scrutiny by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who singled it out as one of 10 regulations recommended for elimination. The official withdrawal of said rule comes after the Obama White House, at the behest of John Boehner, listed seven of the costliest EPA related rules in planning stages, each estimated to cost over $1 billion or more to implement. The ozone/smog rule was estimated at between $19 and $90 billion, the costliest of the seven.

Boehner called the elimination of the ozone rule a “good first step” in cutting down government spending in 2012, but many environmental groups, and even the American Lung Institute, have already voiced their concerns, with the ALI even vowing to take legal action if the measure is permanently erased.

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