Former Vice President Al Gore is blasting President Obama for his refusal to strengthen environmental regulations governing ground-level ozone.
In a short, 179-word blog post Wednesday, the renowned climate activist joined a chorus of other environmentalists who have expressed bitter opposition to Obama's action last week.
“Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution,” Gore wrote.
Gore’s condemnation shouldn’t come as a surprise. He criticized Obama for not being bolder on climate change in a 7,000-word essay in Rolling Stone in June.
Obama’s reversal on the EPA's smog—or ground-level ozone—standard on Friday infuriated nearly all corners of the environmental and public health community. Obama also directly contradicted EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who had indicated she wanted to move forward with the rule now. Obama punted proposing a tougher ozone standard until at least 2013.
The ground-level ozone standard enacted during the George W. Bush administration remains in place as environmental and public health groups revive their challenges in court, alleging that the Bush-era standard isn’t aggressive enough given the current scientific understanding of the detrimental health affects of excessive ground-level ozone.
Gore retorted that the Bush standard has “now been embraced by the Obama White House.”
And there could be more disappointing news in store for Gore and other climate activists. Obama’s EPA has indicated it will issue the first-ever regulations to control greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change by Sept. 26. But it seems likely the EPA may delay the proposal for a second time.
The regulations have not been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. And rules typically spend at least a month in OMB's hands before agencies can release them. EPA already has delayed these rules once, from an initial target date of July 26 to Sept. 26. EPA maintains that it will still meet its May 26, 2012, deadline to finalize the rules.