With a weak U.S. economy shadowing his presidency, Barack Obama has announced his request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw draft air quality standards that would have tightened ozone pollution controls. President Obama cited “the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty” as the economy recovers. Public health experts and environmental advocates howled at the decision, raising concerns about the health impacts of ozone — a major culprit in smog. In contrast, business groups praised the announcement as a means to prevent job losses and protect employment growth; media have reported that the restrictions could have cost up to $90 billion annually. This Forum webcast examined the scientific and economic arguments around this divisive decision.
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