Obama asks EPA to withdraw, revisit proposed ozone standards

September 6, 2011 — President Barack Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, while at the same time ordering a revision of the same air standards.

In a statement released last week, the White House said work is underway to update a 2006 review of "the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013."

"I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover," according to a White House statement. "Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered."

Obama said his commitment to supporting the EPA's protection of public health and the environment is unwavering.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said existing and proposed EPA rules include regulation on the emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases.

"Since day one under President Obama's leadership, EPA has worked to ensure health protections for the American people, and has made tremendous progress to ensure that Clean Air Act standards protect all Americans by reducing our exposures to harmful air pollution like mercury, arsenic and carbon dioxide," Jackson said.

Courts have repeatedly upheld the EPA's authority to regulate carbon dioxide under the auspices of the Clean Air Act, but the agency is still engrossed in the rulemaking process and has yet to decide how it will go about regulating the greenhouse gas.

Other rules still under consideration include the Electric Generating Unit Maximum Achievable Control Technology proposed rule, or EGU MACT, which would require coal-fired and oil-fired power plants greater than 25 MW to use pollution control devices to reduce mercury, nickel and acid gases.

"This administration has put in place some of the most important standards and safeguards for clean air in U.S. history: the most significant reduction of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide air pollution across state borders; a long-overdue proposal to finally cut mercury pollution from power plants; and the first-ever carbon pollution standards for cars and trucks," she said.

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