Obama Orders EPA to Withdraw Ozone Rule

President Obama today ordered U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the final ozone rule the agency has been developing. The new ozone rule would have replaced those set by the Bush administration in 2008 that have not been implemented and which Jackson called "legally indefensible."

Obama's interference in rulemaking process is reminiscent of the many times President Bush interfered in agency rulemaking. The decision, transmitted to Jackson in a letter Sept. 2, is likely to revive the lawsuits by environmental groups that had been on hold pending the outcome of the final rule, according to an Inside EPA article published Sept. 2. The rule was submitted by EPA in July to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for its review. Obama's decision leaves in place less stringent standards which were set in 1997.

Reaction by the environmental and public health communities has been justifiably harsh. Rather than focusing on the public health benefits of the ozone rule, Obama's order to withdrawal the rule cites some of the false, anti-regulatory rhetoric coming from corporate interests and their allies in Congress. Obama should defend EPA and its mission and the important role federal agencies play in providing critical health, safety, and environmental benefits.

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