Environment Local News

As Louisville suffers a string of bad air quality days due to high ozone levels, the Obama Administration has announced that it’s withdrawing a proposal to strengthen the nation’s ozone standard.

President Barack Obama has asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw a draft proposal that would tighten the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The proposal would have placed stricter regulations on polluters and required major environmental upgrades for most industries to comply with the Clean Air Act.

The EPA had predicted the proposed rule would protect the health of children and economically-vulnerable citizens. In a statement, Mr. Obama reiterated his administration’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment, but said the new ozone standard would create regulatory uncertainty in uncertain economic times.

The move was widely criticized by environmental groups, who saw the move as capitulation to the GOP.

The announcement won’t affect Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities’ proposed rate increases before the Public Service Commission. Because the rule was a draft rule, it wasn’t factored into the company’s estimates of environmental upgrades.

The EPA plans to revisit the ozone rule in 2013.