White House Rolls Over on Smog Standards

Backing off plan to tighten air quality rules, Obama cites 'regulatory burdens' on industry

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The Obama administration announced Friday it would not go through with plans to tighten EPA air quality standards set in 2008 by President George W. Bush, after heavy pressure from industry groups and Republicans. The White House issued a statement that cited the "importance of reducing regulatory burdens" on industry in its decision to shelve the new regulations, and sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, asking her to withdraw the new standards. But as The Hill pointed out, "The White House faced pressure from Republicans to abandon the smog standards. The rule was among 10 regulations that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had singled out for elimination in a recent memo laying out the GOP's fall jobs campaign." Environmentalists, naturally, are incensed. "The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said in a statement reported by Politico. “This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health."

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