In a recent Washington Times op-ed, John Engler, the President of the Business Roundtable, claims that the EPA's proposed standards for ground-level ozone constitute a "manufactured crisis" that will cost businesses and hinder job growth. Engler questions why stricter standards are necessary, since the Bush administration recently strengthened the standards after "years of scientific review":
Following years of scientific review, public input and legal proceedings, the Bush administration set a new limit of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) in 2008, a reduction from the currently enforced level of 0.084 ppm. Now, before that limit ever went into effect, the EPA is proposing even lower levels, ranging from 0.60 to 0.70 ppm.
This suggests that Bush's ozone standard was based on a "scientific review." But as we previously reported, the Bush administration ignored the "scientific review" that Engler references. The panel of scientists and doctors recommended a standard of between 60-70 ppb (the same level proposed by current EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson), and subsequently refused to endorse the Bush administration's chosen standard of 75 ppb because it is not "sufficiently protective of public health."
The Bush administration's failure to follow the advice of its scientific advisors "inevitably raises the question of whether the [EPA] Administrator's decision will be judged arbitrary and capricious in judicial review," according to the Congressional Research Service. Indeed, Bush's standard was immediately challenged in court by states and environmental groups. As Politico reported, "the court agreed to put that litigation on hold" after the Obama administration said it would reconsider the Bush standard.
Conservative media claim stricter standards for ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, are unreasonable and unnecessary. In fact, EPA is strengthening the standards because health experts, including the scientific panel that advised the Bush administration, have said that the standards set in 2008 are not sufficient to protect the public.