Fearing reduced chances for re-election by a public angry about mass unemployment, President Obama walked away from a nationwide plan to strengthen air quality standards after business interests lobbied aggressively in opposition. Tighter rules would cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, they argued. On Friday, The New York Times reported that no jobs were added to the nation’s collective payrolls in August, calling the news “a signal that the economy has stalled.”

The anti-environmental lobbying is another example of exploitation of the employment crisis by industry and its purchased politicians, with Obama conceding readily by ducking behind claims of economic necessity. “… I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover,” he said, in a press statement Friday. We are assured this decision was not made lightly: “With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.”

The administration will preserve air pollution standards set under President Bush in 2008. New limits are scheduled to be reconsidered in 2013. –ARK

The New York Times:

The Obama administration is abandoning its plan to immediately tighten air-quality rules nationwide to reduce emissions of smog-causing chemicals after an intense lobbying campaign by industry, which said the new rule would cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, officials said Friday.

The White House announcement that it was overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to adopt a stricter standard for ground-level ozone came just hours after another dismal jobs reports and in the midst of an intensifying political debate over the impact of federal regulations on job creation. The president is planning a major address next week on new measures to stimulate employment, while Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail have harshly criticized the administration’s environmental and health regulations, which they claim are forcing layoffs and the export of jobs.

The E.P.A. following the recommendation of its scientific advisers, had proposed lowering the so-called ozone standard from that set by the Bush administration to a new stricter standard that would have thrown hundreds of American counties out of compliance with the Clean Air Act. It would have required a major effort by state and local officials, as well as new emissions controls by industries and across the country.

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