Washington, D.C. – Today, the Center for American Progress released the following statement on the White House announcement on the withdrawal of the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards:
Today’s announcement from the White House that they will retreat from implementing the much needed—and long-overdue—ozone pollution standard is deeply disappointing and grants an item on Big Oil’s wish list at the expense of the health of children, seniors and the infirm. A new standard for smog would save 4,300 lives and prevent 7,000 hospital visits and tens of thousands of cases of asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses each year.
As history has shown and a recent CAP analysis has confirmed, the new ozone standard is unlikely to have much negative economic impact, but will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in lower health care costs. Moreover, continuing to delay these standards that companies have already been planning for creates even more uncertainty during a volatile time. In reality, it is regulatory certainty that businesses need now to help create jobs.
It is unfortunate that the Obama administration ceded on such an important standard for public health based on updated science recommendations ignored by the Bush administration. The decision creates a clear blemish on an otherwise positive record of this administration in supporting initiatives that reduce pollution including the first fuel saving standards for trucks, higher fuel efficiency for cars built from 2017 to 2025 and proposed reductions in toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants. The president must continue to fight and defeat efforts to block and weaken other clean air health safeguards.
This ozone pollution standard would have been the first improvement in the standard, which sets a protective, health-based limit to ozone levels in the air we breathe, since 1997.