Obama Buckles Again

Obama backs off tough clean air regulation

By Steve Hargreaves @CNNMoney September 2, 2011

President suspends a new ozone requirment after fierce criticism from Republican lawmakers -- and after the economy posts zero new jobs in August.
President suspends a new ozone requirment after fierce criticism from Republican lawmakers — and after the economy posts zero new jobs in August.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — After weeks of Republican attacks over tightening environmental regulations, President Obama said Friday he would halt a planned increase in clean air standards.

In a statement released just hours after the U.S. Labor Department said the economy created no new jobs in August, Obama said he told Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

While stressing his environmental record, Obama said he has “continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”

Ground-level ozone, similar to smog, is created by the burring of fossil fuels. The compound is linked to respiratory disease and thousands of premature deaths each year.

The administration has been attempting to tighten the standards regarding how much ozone can be in the air.

But those efforts have been met with stiff resistance by lawmakers concerned over their effects on the economy.

Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called the proposed ozone rule “the most harmful of all the currently anticipated Obama Administration regulations.”

Areas of the country that do not meet ozone requirements are subject to constraints on development, which could include the denial of permits for new industries until filters or cleaner fuel can be used for existing activities.

The administration is also trying to tighten a handful of other environmental and labor regulations, efforts that are also meeting stiff resistance in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

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