Elections have a funny way of changing the political stripes of candidates. Even though the next presidential election is well over a year away, our current President has most definitely changed his stripes when it comes to protecting our environment. Once heralded as a welcome green change from the Bush administration, President Obama has backtracked on important environmental initiatives that would have improved the health for all. His latest move is to abandon his support for the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards set up by the US EPA. The EPA proposed to tighten ozone standards set during the Bush era in 2008. The Bush standards had ignored the advice of EPA’s own scientists and were set at a level too high to protect public health. The Obama administration announced its intent to bring the standards more closely in line with science in early 2010, specifically recognizing that children were especially at risk from the higher standard. But, instead President Obama’s decision reaffirms the Bush administration’s standard and delays action to protect children and others from the serious health risk of ozone pollution until 2013. Which is conveniently after the 2012 election, and assumes that President Obama would be re-elected to see it through. That assumes too much to place the health and welfare of the citizens of this country at the whim of an electoral outcome. Support the science and do the right thing Mr. President, enact the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Photo Credit: US EPA