President Obama asks EPA to pull draft on tighter ozone standards

02 September 2011 20:00  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--President Barack Obama on Friday asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Obama said he is making the request to “underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover”.

Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013, the President said.

“Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered,” he added.

But Obama added that his administration’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment “is unwavering.”

“My administration will continue to vigorously oppose efforts to weaken EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act or dismantle the progress we have made,” he said.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) said it welcomes Obama's move to "halt this job-killing proposal". Texas is home to many chemicals and petrochemicals producers.

“The decision seems to recognise that current science does not justify further tightening of the ozone standards to protect public health,” the commission said in a statement.

“Indeed, it may even signal a realisation that the consequences of a bad economy, such as joblessness and poverty, have negative public health effects,” it added.

However, the commission said that the Obama administration’s actions leave many questions unanswered about how states can move forward with existing standards.

“The EPA needs to act quickly to clarify these issues and questions in order to bring certainty to the public and states as well as the regulated community,” the TCEQ added.

US chemical producers and other manufacturers have repeatedly warned that the EPA's plans to tighten the national ozone standard would shut down business expansion and force more US jobs offshore.

Read Paul Hodges’ Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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