September 2nd, 2011
02:42 PM ET

Obama backs off tough clean air regulation

CNNMoney has the latest on President Obama's surprising move Friday to back off tightening clean-air standards. The EPA proposal was heavily criticized by Republicans, who argued stricter regulations would slow down job growth:

From CNNMONEY's Steve Hargreaves

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - After weeks of Republican attacks on the Obama administration's tightening of environmental regulations, the president said Friday he would halt a planned increase in clean air standards.

In a statement released just hours after the U.S. Labor Department said the economy created no new jobs in August, Obama said he told Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

While stressing his environmental record, Obama said he has "continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover."

Needless to say, environmentalists, who had considered the president an ally, expressed their anger with the move:

"The White House is siding with corporate polluters over the American people," Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. "Our public officials, including in the White House, serve to protect us from harm. They need to get on with doing their jobs."

Topics: President Obama • The News

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. S3CU41+y

    I have to admit, poor move by Obama. Enforcing strict regulations on corporations could have made the corporations hire more employees in order to work to maintain high clean air standards.

    September 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      And it could have given companies yet another reason to move offshore.

      September 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
      • jb1111

        I think you are right, Jay.

        September 3, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • grif99999

      Everyone knows BO is in full campaign mode. He will change it back if he gets re-elected.

      September 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Lisa Thomas

    Mr.Obama I am so disappointed in you. First you conceded to the Republicans on taxes for the wealthy, and now the air we breathe. By tightening regulations for pollution control you actually create jobs, companies that need to comply by doing renovations hire people to do the work! Clean air and clean water are essential to support human life, please protect our natural resources for future generations.

    September 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  3. BenGordonCCBC

    I can not say i disagree with the decision. With a hailstorm of criticism throughout conservative America and much more significant problems currently on the table I can understand the reluctancy of Obama. With that said environmental protection and conservation is important and should be on the political agenda.

    September 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  4. Scott


    no , they would have just fired people and made the remaining employees work more, and pass costs along to the consumer. given as a democrat you operate under the premise that corporations are greedy, do you really think they would just swallow the extra cost?

    September 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  5. DonD

    BOO. Not looking at the big picture, which is even bigger than concerns about the economy. I like my asthma. Thanks. The Corporatocracy is in place.

    September 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  6. deanO

    Why such small coverage CNN? Of course you want to down play it. This is more pathetic journalism. Obama guts huge environmental regulations and they write a paragraph. Bush does it and they wrote story after story day after day. Where is move on, sierra club, wildlife defenders, afl-cio, nea, code pinkos, MSNBC? Hiding under the rocks as usual.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  7. Bryan in N.C.

    We can't have 4 more years of MR.Obama, with his health care plan and employment 10.2 % in North Carolina things are getting (BAD)!!!! He doesn't give a shit about the middle class and poor people in the good old [U.S.A.]!!!!!!! THE LAST time i checked we where the one's that makes U.S. tick the (RICH),sure as hell don't work at ALL!!! They just sit around and try to figure out how they can fuck us out of our home's etc.......

    September 3, 2011 at 5:56 am |
  8. Jay in NC

    Has anyone checked to see where is President Bush? For a moment I thought he was back in the White House.

    September 3, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Howard


      September 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  9. Ike

    how absolutely disappointing and infuriating all in the same dose. is he ever going to hold his ground on ANYTHING before he ends his career as a one term pres? GROW A PAIR FFS!

    Someday our "elected" officials will remember they work for the AMERICAN PEOPLE.
    until then ill keep hunting for flying pigs.

    September 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  10. brainiac3397

    Obama might as well hand over the title of president to a republican and give the keys to the white house with it. He seems to withdraw anytime a republican has something to say.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  11. Caroline O'Donnell

    Very upsetting. I understand he must concede on some levels to get anything done. But, I fear, he is destroying his major base of support in the process. Worse, it is not going to help the country, or the world, for that matter, in the long run. We are facing down a huge rise in national disasters if a president bargains away short term gains when it comes to any environmental laws. Obama seems at times unable to draw a line in the sand.

    September 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  12. Brendon

    Wow the only good thing this president has done since taking office. COAL POWER PLANTS people are safer than NUKES look at the earthqauke we just had shut down a bunch on east coast. If the whole world had just a little bit of EPA, this would be a great world, go to china and see the pollution there, no one cares there!!!

    September 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  13. TIM

    you know something; i think the tea party and their corparate friends, are setting Obama up to fail; because they resent the fact that an black man is President, and they will hold up job progress, or sell their soul, to stop Obama from being reelected; as Republican would to keep all their white friends rich and no employment, education, or opportunities for minorities, gays, or veterans. Martin Luther King work is far from over. This new form of slavery and hidden racism must be put to an stop.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Roland

    How much worse would we be under a Republican President? Sorry, as a progressive Obama has done more to OUTRAGEOUSLY HARM the progressive cause than "W". At least the Dems tried to hold the line on "W"s destruction of our values, Obama is conceding one democratic value after another. Voting him out of office in 2012 so we can vote in a REAL Democratic in 2016 is only way to minimize the destruction of this president. The hope is that the Dems will win back the House, increase the majority in the Senate and find the BACKBONE needed to keep the next POTUS in check.
    Obama has been a dismal, dismal failure and even worse has been detrimental to the progressive cause. Like Neville Chamberlain, Obama really thinks he's doing good by appeasing his opponents, WHAT A FOOL! God save the USA!

    September 4, 2011 at 5:33 am |
    • Aquinas

      I think the president is in a very tough position, and wish the far left would give him some wriggle room. The foundation of the democratic party for 45 years has been that the government could solve any problem by spending money and regulating. That foundation has been shaken, in that the govt. has spent trillions on stimulus, and not solved any problem. Regulations? We live in a global economy, and any government's ability to regulate is limited by the ability of the regulated to leave for friendlier shores - which has been happening, by the way. I think the president is acting as he is because he realizes that we need the private sector to create jobs, and not at government expense. Encouraging job growth without spending public funds is not in the democratic playbook, so he's in a very tight spot. We need to give him the leeway he needs to be successful.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Russ

      Yes, God Save the USA. Vote Republican!

      September 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    And exactly how was he to accomplish moving forward on this when the Republicans are against it and would have voted NO to everything suggested? (to: ROLAND): He's NOT A FOOL to back off now & wait. You do know that the Republican candidates currently running are against doing anything, right? We can only hope that the Repubs currently in office are replaced and then this can be discussed rationally. Put yourselves in his place, tell all your friends what you want to do, and when they all say NO, what do you do? You back off, because they are going to keep saying NO and not work with you. Get a reality check!!!

    September 4, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  16. Liz Carter in Georgia

    At the risk of losing the welfare of a whole BEATDOWN NATION, and its' people, you lunatics will fight aganst ONE man; BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, the first African American man, who was popularly, ELECTORALLY and legally elected to the PRESIDENCY of the UNITED STATES! You're a pathetic bunch of supremasts, biggots and buffoons! When you're on your dying beds, I wonder what will you whine, cry and tell GOD? You're the worst of the maggoted-bottom of the PIT! You VIPERS! Yes! I said it! TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE!

    September 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  17. Liz Carter in Georgia

    ROLAND, just flash back to the George Bush Era! I'm willing to concede that it started waaaay before him, but take a look back at that ERA. Everything that looked good wasn't good! All that 'Glittered' wasn't GOLD, OK? That's why we ended up in the shape we're in that this President has to EVEN try to address it! The balloon bursted! Problem is, 'they' refuse to see a blackman cleanup behind a whiteman, unless he's using a washrag, buffer and a broom! They don't fool me one bit! They're RACISTS BIGGOTS!

    September 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  18. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Oh, Ok! I said it and I'm not taking it back until I see, or feel a great discernment of a NEW BIRTH of CHANGE! When I say CHANGE, I mean CHANGE of HEART, SOUL and MIND in AMERICA. I'll be YOUR racist folks! I know that's all you got right now; KILL the messenger! Degrade and dismiss the 'cryer', the others in the middle of the road will 'sheeply' follow suit! Hey! there aren't enough shepherds out here to help you stage that PROTEST against me! So just forget it, OK?!? THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE!

    September 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  19. HolyChrist

    Brace for the black in your lungs.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  20. Scott

    Electorally elected to the presidency. Is race the reason for that nonsensical sentence?

    Quit using race is a crutch, when you are in fact the racist. Black unemployment is the highest in history and we all know if bush were still around he would be called a racist for this. But because Obama is black you will vote for him no matter what. But if a white person voted for aan solely because he is white he would be called a racist.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      Yes, I agree.

      September 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  21. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Nonsensical sentence? Have you not heard of 'electoral votes'? Look it up. They've got nothing to do with race; they've got more to do with the populous of a state. I'm NOT using race as a crutch to defend nor oppose Pres OBAMAS' policies! I'm defending Pres OBAMA from yours and people like Jays' ill-begotten, effortless, over-the-top quips of disrespect, demeaning, and antagonism against a man who I know and believe is genuinely trying to save what's left of this bleeding out nation, and with NO help! WHY?

    September 5, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  22. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Didn't you all put BUSH right back in no matter what? Whites never have been percieved as or called racist for voting for a whiteman for PRESIDENT, because that's been all there was up until now! That's been the status quo in America...that was the policy! Blacks had to vote for them too, if we voted at all...Was that racist? Did we vote for them because they were white? NO! It was that we had no other options! Now you clowns have the gall to get upset because some of us choose support our own in his time!

    September 5, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Jay in NC

      "some of us choose support our own" You are judging by the color of their skin not by the content of their character. MLK would be very proud of you.

      September 5, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Jay in NC

      Think of the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Do not justify your wrong by demonstrating that others have done wrong. A true action, no matter how small and meek, personal or public, shines above. God will deliver all, the sinner and the saint. And God will bless those actions that do not require justification. For he knows the truth and can not be deceived. And as the crippled man lays down his cane so that others can walk, and the hungry mother gives milk to her child, the teacher opens a book truth will flow, and no justification, no excuses, no reason will be required.

      It is in the character of a man, not the color of skin that we should judge, be it brother, father, pastor or president. Let he who has true substance, be our guide.

      September 5, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  23. Scott

    I was pointing out the redundancy of electorally elected. And since that is the only way to be elected, it is implied. No one is popularly elected (see Al Gore) because that is the way the Constitution was written.

    Look back at the comments. You were the first person to bring up race and its because you lack the intellectual capacity to challenge anything on facts. Obama could say that he was going to send half the country to concentration camps and you would vote for him solely because he is black. That is racism defined.

    Curious, but have you seen all that hurricane related flooding in new England? Sine the area is predominantly white, does that mean Obama hates white people since Katrina meant bush hated black People?

    Seriously though you brought race in to this. People like you set race relations back with your asinine comments, using it to deflect any criticism. It's sad really that you have to cheapen the debate this way. Why don't you go electorally elect to get informed?

    September 5, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  24. Scott

    Well since being electorally elected is the only way to be legally elected, as the popular vote is meaningless, your sentence is redundant, as electorally elected is implied. For example, it would be like say stupid, intellectually bankrupt liberal, as those terms are implied when you say liberal. Got it?

    People like you make racism worse. You use it as an excuse to avoid having an actual debate based on fact. And Liz from Georgia, look back at the comment thread. You brought race into this. Obama could say he is going to send half the country to concentration camps and you would still vote for him solely because he is black. That is racism defined.

    Also have you seen all the hurricane related flooding in predominantly white new England? Does this mean Obama hates white people since Katrina meant bush hated black people.

    Again, stop using race to cover your inetellectual shortcomings. It cheapens the debate. You should probably stop with the multi-syllabic words too, or at least the redundant ones

    September 5, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  25. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Yes he sure would be proud of me! I'm sure that even he can see from that wonderful raceless place 'in the sky', I choose to call Heaven, that his America still hadn't reached that mountain-top YET! Judging by the systems double-standards, waged against this President, and the DAILY attempts of you and the rest of your ilk to dismiss, spurn, slanderize, scandalize, pick-apart, denounce and spin down his GOOD character and GREAT accomplishments in his life, OH YES! I'm PROUD to judge him by his character.

    September 5, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  26. Scott

    The only accomplishment you care about is the color of his skin. You could care less what he does since he's black. You are a racist

    September 5, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  27. TIM

    look here, your ancestors made race an big deal with your jim crow laws in the south; if you think i'm being racist, why don't some of you brain washed sheep take an hard long look in the mirror. yes i am proud to have an black president, which is an landmark due to oppression and racisim. so do you still think i'm an racist Scott? how many black friends you have, not associates; friends?

    September 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Scott

      I am Hispanic, though it shouldn't matter. There is nothing wrong with being proud of having a black President. There is something very wrong with voting for him just because he is black.

      Out of curiosity, if I had a ton of black friends, and I do have some, does that give me more latitude?

      I get that black people have been victims of racism, but there needs to be some sort of statute of limitations for the sins of the father. And let's be honest, it's not like there isn't racism towards Hispanics or whites from blacks.

      September 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        Remember that the president has two ancestors that were slave owners. Just shows that you can not judge someone by their color.

        September 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  28. Kevin

    The President openly acknowledged that all of these Regulations and Restrictions from Washington are what keeps busihness from hiring and America from producing. If you let the Dingbats from the Sierra club and Eco-warriors have their way they would push all of our jobs overseas.

    Guess what China does when jobs get moved from America to them. The make themselves a great big coal fired plant to provide the electricity to run the plant that produces the goods that America buys. And that coal fire plant polutes the same air that we are using in the US.

    IIt is high time that the America recognizes that you can't live in an ivory tower and have all the dirty jobs done someplace else where American's can't see it. We need to scrap a good percentage of the EPA's rules so that Americans can produce again.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  29. Kevin

    I would also like the President to stop stalling and tell us whether or not he is going to allow the pipeline to go through.

    IIf he really thinks that jobs are important then he should be willing to support the Pipeline from the Tar Sands to Houston and allow the creation of 1000 jobs.

    But he thinks he can still keep his Tree hugger constiuency in place at the expense of honest, hard working Americans.

    Be a man Obama and stand up to your party.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  30. Disappointed!

    ...seems we are heading to a one party system!

    September 6, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  31. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Scott; I ask you again...did you vote for BUSH because he was white? Did the rest of us in America, who voted for him TWICE, vote for him because he was white? You are acting pretty racist yourself Mr Hispanic, for getting upset because I'm finally able to support and be proud of a black President in my lifetime! BTW, not just my lifetime; my mothers' lifetime of 94 years! I BELIEVE BIGGOTRY AND RACISM'S AT THE BOTTOM OF ALL OF THIS BACK AND FORTH AGAINST THIS PRESIDENT, SO THAT'S WHAT I WILL TALK ABOUT!

    September 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  32. oikozin

    very nice piece about enviromentall polution.Defining air pollution is not as simple as it seems, because air pollution can take many forms, derive from many sources, and include many different pollutants and toxins. All world should try to save enviroment and give a very nice future to our ancestors

    September 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm |