Photo credit: Señor Codo via Fotopedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
There was a massive sense of betrayal amongst environmental and health groups after the Obama administration announced that it was delaying ozone (or smog) rules that would have greatly reduced pollution. Those groups, which include the NRDC and the American Lung Association, had previously sued the Bush administration for failing to take action in the same arena. Now, they're hoping to force the agency to update its pollution regulation according to the "best available science" as the law of the Clean Air Act demands.
The groups said that President Obama's refusal to adopt the new standard was illegal and left in place an inadequate air quality rule from the Bush administration. Near the end of his presidency, George W. Bush overruled the Environmental Protection Agency's scientific advisory panel and set the permissible ozone exposure at 75 parts per billion.In other words, Obama caved to beltway insider pressure from lobbying groups, and a GOP that's bent on painting the EPA as a job-killer. (Don't worry, the public's not buying that balderdash)
The current E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, wanted to set the standard at 70 parts per billion, near the maximum level recommended by the advisory panel. But President Obama rejected that proposal on Sept. 2, saying that compliance would be too costly and create too much regulatory uncertainty for industry. He ordered the E.P.A. to conduct further scientific studies and come up with a new proposal in 2013.
For the time being, this suit will at the very least keep the fact that Obama sold out to polluting industry interests -- at the expense of the public's health -- under the spotlight.