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.