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Legal Battle Continues Over Ozone Rule By Rebecca E. Neely After the Obama administration tossed out a proposal to tighten ozone standards recently, attorneys involved in litigation regarding the current regulations are on guard, and environmentalist groups are discouraged.

When Obama took office in 2009, according to the September 7th nytimes.com article, ‘’Lawyers Plot Next Steps in Legal Battle Over Ozone Rule’’, ‘’the Litigation before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia had been put on hold...and U.S. EPA considered whether to revise the rules first introduced the previous year, at the tail end of the George W. Bush administration.’’

more of a curveball for the other side,’’ and added that she thought that briefing of the case would start again.

Per the nytimes.com article, the White House wanted the EPA to ‘’wait for another ongoing review to finish, to avoid having two reviews hanging over the economy at once.’’ The move, per Obama is ‘’reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.’’ Essentially, this means new regulations won’t be issued until 2013 at the earliest, unless the court chooses to speed things up.

David Baron, Earthjustice attorney representing the American Lung Association as well as other groups, said, per the nytimes.com article that his strategy will depend on an EPA filing, expected in the coming weeks.

The scrapped proposal would have established the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone at between 60 and 70 parts per billion (ppb). Per the Bush administration, the standard would be set at 75 ppb. Industry opposed the Bush standard, saying it was too high, while environmental groups felt it was too low. Attorney Allison Wood of Hunton & Williams, representing industry groups in the case, was quoted as saying: ‘’This is

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On behalf of the EPA, Justice Department attorneys wrote in a filing on Friday that: ‘’In light of this development, EPA no longer expects that it will take final action to complete its reconsideration of the 2008 Ozone NAAQS in the near future.’’

In recent months, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wrote Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of the agency’s biggest supporters as chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Clean Air Act, that the standards put forth by the Bush administration are ‘’not legally defensible’’, per the nytimes. com article. In the White House, it seems as though perhaps the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, with this unceremonious change in course and a seeming lack of common ground for all parties involved. While what happens next remains to be seen, hopefully the ultimate goal - better air quality - won’t be lost in the process.

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Legal Battle Continues Over Ozone Rule