Battle Over EPA Smog Rule Intensifies

Silhouetted against the sky at dusk, emissions spew from the smokestacks at Westar Energy's Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant near St. Mary's, Kan. Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Jan. 22, 2014, 1:37 a.m.

En­vir­on­ment­al and pub­lic health groups want a fed­er­al court to force the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency to is­sue tough­er stand­ards for smog-form­ing pol­lu­tion.

The Amer­ic­an Lung As­so­ci­ation, the Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil, and oth­er groups in a court fil­ing Tues­day, ask a fed­er­al judge to re­quire EPA to pro­pose new ozone stand­ards by Dec. 1, 2014, and fin­ish them 10 months later.

“The longer Amer­ic­ans must wait for the EPA to strengthen the stand­ards, the longer they must breathe air pol­lu­tion that shortens their lives, wor­sens lung dis­ease, makes it harder for them to breathe, and threatens car­di­ovas­cu­lar harm,” the Amer­ic­an Lung As­so­ci­ation said in a state­ment Tues­day even­ing.

The fil­ing is the latest twist in the in­tense, years-long leg­al and lob­by­ing battle over EPA ozone reg­u­la­tions. It’s a fight that has drawn high-level White House in­volve­ment over the past sev­er­al years.

Pres­id­ent Obama, in 2011, scuttled EPA plans to toughen George W. Bush-era stand­ards but noted that EPA would re­vis­it the rules in 2013.

The 2011 White House ac­tion fol­lowed heavy lob­by­ing by in­dustry groups, such as the Na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Man­u­fac­tur­ers, that say fur­ther tight­en­ing of the rules would hobble the eco­nomy.

EPA, un­der the Clean Air Act, must re­view ozone stand­ards every five years.

The green groups’ fil­ing Tues­day with the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the North­ern Dis­trict of Cali­for­nia says com­ple­tion of that re­view is over­due.

It notes that ozone rules were last pro­mul­gated in mid-March of 2008 and that “there is no dis­pute that EPA has failed to com­plete its re­view.”

What We're Following See More »
Cruz to Back Trump
1 days ago
Two Polls for Clinton, One for Trump
1 days ago

With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:

  • An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clin­ton lead­ing Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary John­son at 7%.
  • A Mc­Clatchy-Mar­ist poll gave Clin­ton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way bal­lot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
  • Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
1 days ago

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Trump Makes No Outreach to Spanish Speakers
1 days ago

Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."

Clintons Buy the House Next Door in Chappaqua
2 days ago

Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."