Barack Obama handed the business community a surprise win today by asking the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap new smog standards that would force state and local government to improve air quality or risk losing federal funds, the Washington Post reports. "Work is already underway to update … the ozone standard in 2013," Obama explained. "Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered."
The smog standard is usually reviewed every five years, but EPA administrator Lisa Jackson had pushed for an early review because the standard set by the Bush administration in 2008 was significantly higher than what EPA scientists recommended. Business groups have fought the review, while environmentalists instantly decried Obama’s change of heart—one member of a liberal think tank accused him of "siding with big oil over the health of children, seniors, and the infirm."