Bush Stepped In to Weaken Ozone Rules

President overruled EPA scientists on pollution guidelines
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 11:22 AM CDT
President Bush salutes as he walks toward Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Friday, March 14, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – President Bush personally intervened this week to loosen the EPA's new guidelines on pollution-causing ozone, the Washington Post reports. By law, separate ozone standards are mandated for protecting the "public health" and the "public welfare," which includes wildlife, parks, and farmland. According to EPA documents, Bush overruled the more stringent guidelines recommended by both EPA scientists and administrators for the latter.

The final report, issued Wednesday evening after a scramble to rewrite, applied the "public health" standard to both mandates, despite a scientific report concluding that a “substantially different” secondary standard was needed to protect crops, forests, and wildlife. “It is unprecedented, and an unlawful act of political interference,” said one environmental activist. Under the Clean Air Act, the standards are reexamined every five years.