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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

President Bush -- er, Obama -- Keeps Weak Ozone Standards

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
02 September 2011, 9:23 AM
Obama administration pushes ozone health protection reconsideration to 2013
Weak Bush-era ozone health standards will be maintained by the Obama administration.

In July, we were mighty disappointed when the Obama administration announced a fourth delay of the ozone rule. That disappointment is tenfold today after the Obama administration announced that it would not strengthen weak Bush-era ozone health standards. Instead the administration is going to maintain the status quo until at least 2013, which means thousands of Americans who suffer from lung and breathing diseases are at risk.

What a shame.

In his statement, President Obama mentioned the Environmental Protection Agency’s actions on the environment this year: reducing mercury from power plants and improving the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, as well as cutting pollution that travels interstate. While all of these environmental measures are needed, much more needs to be done. And the Obama administration knows this. The administration knows full well what a stronger ozone standard means: cutting ozone from the current 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to the new 70 (ppb) standard was estimated to save up to 12,000 lives, prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks and hospital visits, and prevent hundreds of thousands of lost school and work days.

Earthjustice sued to challenge these standards on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association and Appalachian Mountain Club. The case was put on hold when the Obama Administration said it would reconsider the standards. Regarding the latest news, Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association said: “The American Lung Association now intends to revive its participation in litigation with the administration, which was suspended following numerous assurances that the administration was going to complete this reconsideration and obey the law. We had gone to court because the Bush Administration failed to follow the law and set a protective health standard.”

More from President Obama:

I want to be clear: my commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering. I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution. And 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.

And a response to today’s terrible news from Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation Martin Hayden:

Sacrificing American lives and forcing our friends and family members who suffer from asthma to breathe dirty air is a poor legacy for President Obama. Keeping weak, inefficient standards in place is not the change we were promised. It’s a travesty that the Obama administration in this case has refused to place the health of America’s children and citizens above corporate greed.

People who suffer from asthma often say an attack feels like breathing through a pool of water or with a pillow covering their face. Millions of Americans suffer from asthma; however, most people don't know how brutal it is to live with the disease.

In the United States, asthma is a bona fide public health epidemic: 17 million adults and 7 million children suffer from the disease. Every year, our society pays in excess of $53 billion to treat it. Millions of asthmatics, including hundreds of thousands of kids, make visits to the emergency room for medical attention. And in thousands of severe cases, people die.

Breathing is a fundamental right, yet every day air pollution is affecting millions of American's Right to Breathe.

Why are any of us surprised? How long has it been since our government (republicans or dems) cared about the american public? Profits, re-elections and greed run this country!

I know that one president cannot fix everything there is on Earth in one term. Be Hopeful because PRESIDENT OBAMA has done a far better job than BUSH Ever did, DON' T HOLD Him responsible for the things that BUSH DID? He cannot change everything? YOU Need to understand it is not all up to him? THERE IS a Voting Process! I am sure if he could he would have done the best job possible. YOU COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS he faces on a daily basis, don't be too quick to JUDGE HIM. We are blessed to Have him as our PRESIDENT, no matter how long or how short a time it will be! I am Grateful for the things that he has tried to do so far, with NO SUPPORT FROM ANYONE, all hate & ridicule. ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE A MAN!

He plays a part. He's a phony. Wake up man. There's no change. I can certainly judge him by what he said he would do, and what he's done. End the war nope, close Guantanamo nope, end don't ask don't tell nope, fight for the environment nope. He has got to go a total loser.


Incredibly disappointing. I supported Obama in 2008, but given some of his decision-making lately, and the way he caved to Republicans during the debt ceiling debacle, my support will be much less enthusiastic this time around.

Obama has completely abandoned his campaign promises and message of Hope - the reality is "Business as Usual". Obama is a sell out and a fraud

I voted for President Obama because I believed he would do the right thing when it comes to the environment. Instead, he's caved to industry and Republicans. What a tool.

For once I am not too disappointed. With so many fronts on the environmental battlefield, I am happy for the progress that has been made. Though, hydrofracking could be done away with and i would be way happier.

In my humble opinion. What really counts is the enforcement, and subsequent improvments. I have little doubt that the EPA is behind on locating and enforcing the present standards. Why don't we concentrate on making the enforcement as good as it can be, and let the EPA catch up. This is a case where quantity (of offenders cited) is as important as quality( of the legal standards). For the last decade or so there have been many laws on the books that could have prevented many things. It was the lack of enforcement of regulations that have caused many problems.

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