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Green groups sue Obama for overturned smog rule

Obama administration, EPA in crosshairs for axing tougher smog limits

The Obama administration is being sued by public health and environmental groups after the administration overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard on Sept. 2, which would have enforced tougher smog limits on pollution.

Earthjustice, the American Lung Association and the Environmental Defense Fund are among the advocacy groups that filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.

Though President Obama said the decision will help reduce regulatory burdens for businesses, green groups are dissatisfied, claiming the decision is detrimental to public health.

David Baron, a lawyer for Earthjustice, told reporters the decision was “illegal and irresponsible,” saying thousands of people are left at risk of illness and premature death from the emissions of smog-forming chemicals.

House Republicans and businesses have pressured the EPA to remove or weaken such regulations on pollutants, because regulatory standards are burdens to big power-generating companies, which in turn hurt the economy.

Still, the EPA plans to propose revisions to the standards in 2013. For now, the EPA will stick to the old standard for smog limitation that was set in 2008 by President George W. Bush.

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