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Obama orders EPA to abandon ozone regulation proposal

(Xinhua)

13:39, September 03, 2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday asked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to abandon an ozone regulation proposal, arguing that it might burden industry at a time of deep economic uncertainty.

Obama said in a statement that after careful consideration, he had asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

He said that he decided not to burden state and local governments with implementing new standards because they were due to be updated in any case in two years.

"I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover," Obama said.

In January 2010, EPA proposed a new standard for limiting the amount of pollution-forming ozone in the air from 0.075 to between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million (ppm). Estimated costs of implementing this proposal range from 19 billion to 90 billion U.S. dollars, according to the EPA.

Obama, however, insisted that he had not diluted his commitment to the environment.

"I want to be clear: my commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering," he said.

Obama's announcement followed grim data on Friday that showed U. S. employment growth ground to a halt in August, with the jobless rate stuck at 9.1 percent.

Business groups and Republicans said the White House was making the right decision as the country's economy continued to struggle. Criticism from environmentalists was swift following the White House announcement.

"The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe," said Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation Voters. "This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health."

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