Citing the importance of “reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty,” President Obama took EPA’s proposed ozone standard off the table for the time being.
In a statement touting the actions the current EPA has taken under the leadership of Lisa Jackson, the president said that he cannot support the burden the proposed standard would impose as the economy recovers and requested that Jackson withdraw the draft ozone standard that would have tightened the ozone standard from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 60 ppb. The EPA will revisit the ozone standard in 2013
Ozone (O3) is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is not usually emitted directly into the air, but at ground-level is created by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Ozone has the same chemical structure whether it occurs miles above the earth or at ground-level and can be “good” or “bad,” depending on its location in the atmosphere.
According to many environmentalists this is a huge win for ‘corporate polluters’ and a huge loss for public health. However business leaders such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others contend there’s no doubt that the standard would have thrown large swaths of the country into non-attainment, requiring businesses to obtain costly permits or technologies to comply. The EPA’s proposal would have cost $19 billion to $90 billion, according to the White House.
“Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered,” Obama said in a statement.
For more information: http://www.epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/