President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards

Weigh in on the question “Is President Obama a Lost Cause Environmentally — and What Should Progressives Do?

UPDATE 1:  Obama’s decision to do nothing on ozone pollution is actually worse than what the Bush-Cheney Administration proposed.  See Brad Plumer’s WashPost piece, “Did the White House double-cross its supporters on the smog rule?”

UPDATE 2:  I was on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown tonight on this and will post a video when it’s available.

That’s a tweet from Politico’s national political reporter Manu Raju.

After much debate about upcoming EPA regulation of air quality standards, the President has backed down on creating a new ozone standard:

[A]fter careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time. Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013.  Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.

League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement:

The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health.”

The administration’s fecklessness is no doubt based on some crass political (mis)calculation.  But in fact the standard would not have any noticeable negative impact on the economy and, if anything, would have driven investment and innovation even in the short term.  The biggest uncertainty  businesses have now is “what the heck will Obama do next?” since the President appears to have no coherent and consistent philosophy guiding his  economic and environmental decisions.

And as for how this plays out with the voters, it’s one more move that disempowers a core constituency.  It also misses a chance to win over the biggest block of independent voters, those who want to preserve clean air and clean water for their kids.  As a May Pew poll found, 71% of Americans say “This country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment.”

UPDATE:  Below is the Center for American Progress statement on this decision, followed by the American Lung Association statement:

CAP:  Today’s announcement from the White House that they will retreat from implementing the much needed —and long-overdue —ozone pollution standard is deeply disappointing and grants an item on Big Oil’s wish list at the expense of the health of children, seniors and the infirm. A new standard for smog would save 4,300 lives and prevent 7,000 hospital visits and tens of thousands of cases of asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses each year.

As history has shown and a recent CAP analysis has confirmed, the new ozone standard is unlikely to have much negative economic impact, but will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in lower health care costs. Moreover, continuing to delay these standards that companies have already been planning for creates even more uncertainty during a volatile time. In reality, it is regulatory certainty that businesses need now to help create jobs.

It is unfortunate that the Obama administration ceded on such an important standard for public health based on updated science recommendations ignored by the Bush administration. The decision creates a clear blemish on an otherwise positive record of this administration in supporting initiatives that reduce pollution including the first fuel saving standards for trucks, higher fuel efficiency for cars built from 2017 to 2025 and proposed reductions in toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants. The president must continue to fight and defeat efforts to block and weaken other clean air health safeguards.

Here is the American Lung Association:

President Obama announced today that he would not update the 2008 ozone standard.

“For two years the Administration dragged its feet by delaying its decision, unnecessarily putting lives at risk. Its final decision not to enact a more protective ozone health standard is jeopardizing the health of millions of American, which is inexcusable,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.  “The American Lung Association now intends to revive its participation in litigation with the Administration, which was suspended following numerous assurances that the Administration was going to complete this reconsideration and obey the law.  We had gone to court because the Bush Administration failed to follow the law and set a protective health standard.”

“The ozone standard set in 1997 at 84 ppb is currently being implemented.  The American Lung Association demands at minimum, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states must move forward to implement the 75 ppb standard as it will provide more protection than the 14-year-old standard,” said Connor.

The EPA’s nearly two-year-long “reconsideration” of the ozone standard determined that the 2008 standard, set at 75 ppb by the Bush Administration, failed to protect public health, failed to follow the scientific community’s recommendations, and was legally indefensible.  Furthermore, in reconsidering the 2008 decision, EPA had to limit its review to reconsider the science about ozone as it stood in 2006.  Evidence accumulating since 2006 shows that ozone is harmful at levels well below the current.

By choosing to ignore the recommendations of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), the President is failing to follow the nation’s landmark air pollution law, the Clean Air Act, and therefore failing to protect public health, particularly those most at risk including children, older people, and people who suffer from chronic lung diseases. For these people, breathing smog-polluted air can lead to coughing and wheezing, restricted airways, hospitalization and even death.  Even healthy young adults and people who exercise or work outdoors can suffer from high levels of ozone pollution.

“A new smog standard would have saved lives and resulted in fewer people getting sick,” said Albert A. Rizzo, MD, National Volunteer Chair of the American Lung Association and pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware.  “The Administration should have set a standard at 60 ppb as advised by the American Lung Association and other medical societies and health groups.  Its failure to do so will severely jeopardize public health,” continued Dr. Rizzo.

An American Lung Association bipartisan poll of likely 2012 voters taken in June 2011 found that an overwhelming majority support the EPA’s efforts to strengthen rules on ozone-causing pollution. The poll found that 75 percent of voters support stricter limits on ozone and that 72 percent oppose efforts by Congress to stop EPA from updating ozone standards.  The poll also found that 65 percent of the voters do not agree with the industry’s claim that the stricter smog standard will impact jobs.  In fact, 54 percent rightly believe that a new standard will create jobs through innovation.

“The benefits to our economic and physical health of a stricter smog standard are without question,” continued Connor. “While polluters continue to argue against health standards by repeating archaic, long-disproved claims about economic harm, the American people know better.  The Obama Administration undoubtedly should not have delayed and failed to implement a new standard to help communities achieve clean air.”

82 Responses to President Obama Backs Down On Ozone Standards

  1. What does this mean for the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule?

  2. Adam says:

    I wish we had candidate Obama in the White House. Someone replaced him with a corporatist doppelganger.

  3. Mike says:

    Nothing. The Cross-State rule was designed with a previous NAAQS in mind. Though I think EPA had planned to come up with a successor to it on relatively short order in connection with a new NAAQS. But I’m not entirely sure on that.

  4. Jay Alt says:

    When Obama was elected I felt the environment had at long last won the lottery! He may still become known as the Lotto president. He rolls over for the GOP about twice each week.
    I’ll be giving the White House a piece of my mind when they get back.

  5. Mr. Evil says:

    One more reason I’ve lost my energy to vote. It isn’t who I’m voting for anymore, it’s what I’m voting for.

    When I voted for Obama in 2008 I really thought we were going to go in a new direction as a country. I thought we were going to try to be the country that led and set the standards for everyone else to emulate. I didn’t figure I was voting for Goldman Sachs, more status quo and endless wars for Halliburton.

    I’ll never vote republican and I won’t vote for Obama just because he’s the lesser of two evils in 2012. I’m going to write in someone who I believe has integrity and actually wants to accomplish great things and build a great society. Now all I have to do is find one.

  6. Joe Romm says:

    Nothing. White House release touts:

    Cutting pollution from power plants and industrial sources: EPA finalized additional Clean Air Act protections that will slash hundreds of thousands of tons of smokestack emissions that travel long distances through the air leading to soot and smog, threatening the health of hundreds of millions of Americans living downwind. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will reduce air pollution (including ozone) and is projected to prevent up to 34,000 deaths annually, producing annual estimated net benefits in excess of $100 billion. Twenty seven states in the eastern half of the country will work with power plants to cut air pollution under the rule, which leverages widely available, proven and cost-effective control technologies. Many power plants covered by the rule have already made substantial investments in clean air technologies to reduce SO2 and NOx emissions.

  7. Peter Mizla says:

    Join us at the Green Party

    I was a Democrat from 1972- 2010

    I had enough- lets get rid of Corporate Democrats like Bill, Barack & Hillary – in addition to many more in the House and Senate.

  8. cervantes says:

    Obama is a rightist mole.

  9. Leif says:

    So rather than reward the large share of power plants that have already invested in the cleaner technology we have proven once again the greed, rape and pillage pays. Just how is President Obama that much different than GOBP lite? Why Does Corporate America and the GOP hate him so much when he has proven time and again that he is in their corner and is getting legislation passed that surely the GOP could not do on their own.

  10. Joan Savage says:

    Is this another one of those messaging messes?

    In keywording through the EPA’s material on the draft standards, there was unanimity that the ozone threshold had to be less than the current 0.08 ppm for 8 hours. Then the next recommendation I came across was a fuzzy recommendation that it be between 0.6 and 0.7 ppm for 8 hours. That kind of fuzz would make many a regulator cringe. I went though it very quickly and may have missed a more implementable recommendation. If it is the way it looks at the moment, then holding off for a workable regulatory standard makes complete sense.
    Any counterpoint information?

  11. fitley says:

    I can’t believe this president would do this just as a poke in the eye to the Tar Sands protestors, because that’s petty. At this point I think he has become petty. He’s also petty about his push to screw Lt. Dan Choi. Petty.

  12. S.D. says:

    Everyday, I find myself thinking the only reason to vote for Pres. Obama is because he’s not crazy like the GOP…

    Wish I had a better reason.

  13. Joan Savage says:

    Correction! 2nd sentence should read “Then the next recommendation I came across was a fuzzy recommendation that it be between 0.06 and 0.07 ppm for 8 hours.”
    The fuzzy recommendation was indeed for lower ozone levels, but not by a simple formula.

    (Note to self: don’t trust subvocalization while typing)

  14. catman306 says:

    Lyin’ sleazeball politician!

    He coulda, shoulda, woulda, been a great, all the while taking his political chances, one term president. If he had only done what he said he would. They’d have been building statues to him in a 100 years.

    Instead he’s Bush III for two terms. He’ll be cursed.
    See first sentence.

  15. Adam says:

    Well, it’s official. We’ve now had an out-of-touch Republican in the White House for 10 years straight and counting…

  16. John McCormick says:

    RE # 5

    I believe we have a highly qualified and Independent Party candidate in Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. He is very strong for middle class issues and particularly strategic planning to get jobs for unemployed and newly graduated Americans.

    I am beginning to feel as you do Mr. Evil and I realize that is a dangerous frame of mind because some nutcase rethug could likely beat Obama if we thinking people dare to split the ticket. Maybe it is time to challenge President Obama with an organized and well funded campaign to find a solid, independent candidate. I can’t believe I am even thinking this way. But, things are going from bad to unacceptable with President Obama.

    John McCormick

    Any replies?

    John McCormick

  17. Cletis says:

    Captain Capitulation, once again, shows men CAN walk upright withut a backbone.

  18. GeorgeA says:

    Has Obama done anything that McCain wouldn’t have done? The distinction between the two seems to fade with time. Did we have a real choice in that election or was it a choice between a wolf and a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

    It may be that Obama would represent himself as anything and everything in order to achieve and keep power. It appears that he appeased voters to get the power and he’s appeasing the corporations to keep the power. It’s more important to have the power than it is to use it to advance any particular (i.e. progressive) agenda. Perhaps he feels that power and authority are something that are important to have but not important to use. The means are the end.

    Is it something more sinister? Has Obama been compromised? Has someone threatened to reveal something incriminating from his past? Was there some dirty Chicago political act that would prevent his re-election? The last thing I want to be is another conspiracy nut but I’m really struggling to bridge the chasm between Candidate Obama and President Obama. From both rational and progressive perspectives it is just baffling.

  19. Frank says:

    What do Neville Chamberlain and Barak Obama have in common? An implacable enemy and the wrong headed policy that appeasement will satisfy their demands: it does not but emboldens the enemy to more reckless action and demands. This will end badly for Obama and the nation.

  20. BBHY says:

    I vote Green Party because their platform closely matches my own views on the environment, the economy, and most other subjects concerning the country.

    My candidate won’t get elected if others don’t vote the same way, but I only control my vote, not that of everyone else.

    I can’t vote for someone who doesn’t stand for what I believe in just because they have a better chance of getting elected. That is just the way I see it.

  21. BBHY says:

    I feel confident that McCain would have gotten a better deal in the debt ceiling negotiations. He would have stood up to the T-party.

    Still, the thought of Palin as VP is about the scariest thing I can ever imagine.

  22. Saddened says:

    As usual, I feel kind of sad and disappointed, but not totally unsympathetic. He’s fighting for his political life. It’s “jobs” (however one perceives this) and the re-election. This is a last chance to have a laser like focus on this issue. Anything that detracts from this, or the perception of thereof, will probably be jettisoned, at least for the next year. (Whether I agree with him from here on or not, I actually would like to see him go on the offense for once, instead of compromising and retreating. Perhaps it’s a lesson us mild mannered personalities must learn. He made the assumption people would be reasonable, when in actuality it is “unreasonable” brute power, even “crazy power”, as Steven Colbert puts it, that is winning. What does this say about the world, the nature of political reality, or the level of general human consciousness?)

    I will vote for the “lesser of two evils”. Those who want better need to provide the ground swell and an compelling candidate that represents it, as an alternative we can vote for. Till then, the “lesser of the two evils” will be a kind of a “buffer” against the “greater evil”, at least to hold open some space so some future progressive alternative can take root, or at least some semblance of progressive space so someone or something else can flourish. With all the disappointment with climate change legislation, the one bright spot is the continuing growth of renewable energy, and more importantly it’s dropping costs. I find Stephen Lacy’s blogs an inspiration in a world of hurt. Maybe in 10 years, “grid parity”, even the possibility of “game changers” in biofuels and storage. When it is cheaper than fossil fuels it will have a economic momentum of its own irrespective of government policies. At least this is my hope since politics cannot solve this issue.

  23. George Ennis says:

    Progressives in 2012 would be best to vote either for an Independent candidate, a Green Party candidate or failing that just leave the choice for President blank.

    Yes that sets up the GOP for a win but what you have under President Obama is what can only charitably be described as a sleep walk towards extremist, corporatist right wing ideas. Voting by progressives for Obama only emboldens this sleep walk towards the right and America’s walk over the economic and climate precipice.

    In no uncertain terms the message should be sent that the President cannot count on the support of progressives for his re-election.

  24. John says:

    Yes! Bernie Sanders for President would be TRUE change! Let’s get him to run asap! Finally, an honest, intelligent, and common sense candidate could be elected. Who knew that Candidate Obama would bend over so easily?

  25. Gert B Frobe says:

    Thats it, I am finished with Obummer. I really do not care anymore who is president.

  26. Joan Savage says:

    I still want to know if the US EPA let Obama down with a not ready for prime time recommendation. If he didn’t want to slam them in public (and they are looking pretty bruised already), then he’s in a difficult position, as usual.

  27. David B. Benson says:


    I’d write more (and stronger) but I’m trying to abide by Thumper’s rule.

  28. sandyh says:

    How many of my peers in the Baby Boom generation have to die untimely deaths from cancer before this administration realizes it must take the scientific facts seriously?

  29. Michael Tucker says:

    Not a single Republican can be trusted. Just ask Wisconsin. After all the Republicans have shown us over the past three years, if you think they will do a better job for Amererica, by all means let’s have President Perry or President Romney. BushII wasn’t bad enough…let’s see how bad it can really get!

  30. Frank Zaski says:

    MISPLACED ANGER? These comments suggest our goal is to discourage support and votes for Obama.

    We should be condemning the Rs and their handlers for causing this situation, not Obama.

    This seems like we are only criticizing our child for not punching out the nasty school bully but not saying a single word about the bully or the situation.

    The bully’s handlers – utilities, coal, oil, Koch, Murdoch, Limbaugh – should really be the target of our anger and rhetoric.

  31. Mikerush says:

    Union card check– Obama folded.
    Universal health care– Obama folded.
    Stopping the wars– Obama folded.
    Raising taxes on the Uber-rich– Obama folded.
    Numerous recess appointments– Obama folded.
    Debt ceiling– Obama folded.
    Jobs bill speech date– Obama folded.
    EPA requirements– Obama folded.

    Did I miss anything?

    [JR: Well, he didn’t campaign on all of those things — but he did campaign on climate bill and on that he most certainly folded.]

  32. Lynn says:

    If the right was screaming about the $19-100 billion that compliance would cost, I have to believe that there was $19-100 in construction salaries, equipment,concrete, high tech machinery purchases etc. How on earth can anyone say that this would not have “produced jobs”? Many jobs.

  33. maria says:

    I feel the same. I still think he’s our best shot. We know if the repukes get in we might as well move to Somalia and to those threatening to vote Green have you lost your minds. Don’t forget what happened in 2000. We are still trying to recover from it and the reason we are in this mess right now is because of people who voted green in 2000. Don’t you forget it and remember another important factor THE SUPREME COURT. Justice Ginsburg will probably retire and so will Kennedy. Do you really want a republican president picking two more supreme court justices?

  34. SolarMom says:

    @Joan Savage
    EPA’s science advisors recommended at standard in the range of 60 ppb to 70 ppb. EPA proposed that range, received public comment, and then was about to publish a final rule. The final rule would have set teh standard at a single number from that range.

  35. Rakesh Malik says:

    “Not a single Republican can be trusted.”

    I would trust a republican OR a democrat as far as I could throw one.

  36. maria says:

    That’s very unfortunate and quite short sighted. Have you forgotten what voting green did to this country from 2000 to 2008? I haven;t and think about another factor, THE SUPREME COURT. Justice Ginsburg will almost certainly retire and so will Kennedy. Do you really want the republicans to pick two more conservative justices? Stop thinking of yourself and think about the rest of the country, your children, your family. This is not just about you. Obama is fighting for his political life. This could be a temporary move and since jobs are and have to be the number l priority, I can understand the difficult decision.

  37. Rakesh Malik says:

    “Thats it, I am finished with Obummer. I really do not care anymore who is president.”

    I gave up on him after Deepwater Horizon.

  38. Brandi says:

    Already two of my liberal friends, say they won’t vote at all in 2012 and I can understand why. Obama is pathetic he just rolls over for the GOP whenever they ask him too. He is starting to make Clinton look progressive. If Obama hadn’t increased the mileage standards for cars, his environmental record would pretty much equal Bush’s. He can’t even say climate change anymore.

  39. Very disheartening. This just plays into the narrative that environmental protection costs jobs. Instead, the net benefits (after subtracting out costs) are huge, and that means that these regulations are good for society, even in a down economy.

  40. Mikerush says:

    Well, to put it another way, then, on which of these did he stand up and defend? In what occasion has Obama gone to the wall to back his agenda?

  41. Extemporalias says:

    “In a move that will infuriate enviros” immediately casts those of us who care about our children’s futures on earth as somehow “different” or “lefty” or whatever. I grow weary of beltway reporters who associate caring, forethought, critical thinking or empathy as something diminished and unimportant. Their smugness and cynicism will die with the rest of us.

  42. jsb says:

    EXACTLY!!!!!! I don’t understand why GOP hate him either…it is all a dog and pony show. He is a Republican.

  43. ZJ 77 says:

    Agreed 100% This progressive will not vote for him again.

  44. Frank Zaski says:

    Turn on our own! The utilities, coal, oil, Koch, Murdoch, Limbaugh and Tea Party would love to read the above comments about Obama. We agree with them!

    The same mentality caused just enough to vote for Nader in 2000 and Al Gore lost. History would have been much different with Al.

    Like hiding Moses in the reeds, is Obama actually saving the future life of this ruling and a bunch of Democratic legislators as well?

  45. Mr. Evil says:

    I’d vote for Bernie Sanders for president in a heartbeat! He’s a rational, intelligent realist that understands the human condition in this country. Unfortunately Americans seem to be enamoured with pseudo-cowboys and swagger-masters.

  46. John Tucker says:

    Another golden opportunity missed to curb pollution and channel funds generated by compliance efforts into alternate energy. This could have been turned into a job creataor and American tech investment.

    Instead its a failure and a capitulation to those that would never vote for a democrat anyway.

  47. If you raise the water temp slowly it just fools the frogs into sleepy complacency while their climate gets dangerously overheated.

    Is it really better for the climate to promise green while enabling brown like Obama is doing? Or is it leading to sleepy complacency where even many climate hawks are afraid to protest such a string of cook-our-future actions?

    How much coal, fracking, tar sands, extreme oil drilling does Obama have to green light before it is OK to say it sucks and we are fed up with it?

  48. Joan Savage says:

    The EPA’s CASAC fell short of recommending a single standard between 60 and 70 ppb, threw in a difficult-to-interpret phrase to boot, and added a hint that more research might prompt a shift in the recommendation. What’s so surprising about a go-back-to-the-drawing board-and-finish-it response from Obama?

    Here’s the CASAC recommendation, quote:
    “Accordingly, the CASAC unanimously recommends that the current primary ozone NAAQS be revised and that the level that should be considered for the revised standard be from 0.060 to 0.070 ppm, with a range of concentration-based forms from the third- to the fifth- highest daily maximum 8-hr average concentration. While data exists that adverse health effects may occur at levels lower than 0.060 ppm, these data are less certain and achievable gains in protecting human health can be accomplished through lowering the ozone NAAQS to a level between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm.”

    casac_con_06_003.pdf pdf page 5

    That does not make Obama the bad guy.

  49. Joan Savage says:

    Who would have been willing to settle for a 70 ppb, the upper end of that recommendation range, and only 5 ppb less than the unsatisfactory Bush era standard? Not me.

  50. Joan Savage says:

    The correct pdf for the quote is

    Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Peer Review of the Agency’s 2nd Draft Ozone Staff Paper. (PDF, 112 pp., 1,281,731 bytes), EPA-CASAC-07-001

    Good night, breathe deep, sleep well..

  51. Edith Wiethorn says:

    Yes – you both miss the Obama Administration’s willful ignorance & tragic hubris in ignoring life science facts & permitting GMO crops without regulation. How does this affect climate change? General knowlege, as stated regularly by Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, is that industrial agriculture methods account for 30-50% of AGW greenhouse gasses. More specifically to climate science, all Monsanto’s GMO seed is created to be dependent upon Roundup, a glysophate-based herbide. Glysophate works by killing the beneficial microbial life in the soil that has worked in synergy with plant-roots to help balance the carbon-to-atmosphere cycle at nearly neutral over human history. Weeds are then killed by the remaining soil pathogens. The detrimental global scope of the OA’s willful ignorance of life science is beyond a comment box, even in the reinstated CP format, for which we are grateful. Can share files.

  52. I think you can find hundreds of articles and thousands of comment on this site that rip into utilities, coal, oil, Koch, Murdoch, Limbaugh for their role in cooking our future. This article is about dangerous decisions Obama is making that are very upsetting to those who care deeply about our future.

  53. Bob says:

    I disagree. First, even if he were to think this was the right thing to do policy-wise (which I totally disagree with) why on Earth would you capitulate an issue the Republicans want to do in the fall right when you’re about to go negotiate your “big” jobs bill?? Now he’s capitulating before the negotiating EVEN BEGINS. Plus, his statement validated everything the Republicans say about the EPA–it “costs” business; it creates “uncertainty”, etc. etc. This was bad policy AND bad strategy.

  54. mulp says:

    Obama is responding to the voters who are responding to the messages coming from the political pundits, and Americas best economists.

    Look, economists have been declaring the age of ZMP workers as the reason for the high unemployment rate, plus the burden of regulation. And voters have been voting rather decisively for Republicans who agree with the economists and business leaders: the unemployed workers are below zero marginal productivity given all the government regulation.

    Voters agree with Republicans that the American worker and their families are not worth as much as Democrats claim they are.

    So, clearly, the voters have told Obama they want corporations to have the legal right to kill and maim their employees, their customers, and the neighboring families to their factories, mines, dump sites.

    Rick Perry is clearly the kind of leader the voter want, a man who creates low wage jobs in polluted environments with no recourse of any sort to the whims and actions of corporations that kill or harm individuals – not only will Texas government not help those impacted, the Texas law ensures corporations will be protected from those worthless individuals who chose to be harmed by Texas pollution.

    And look, no liberal or progressive actually believes differently than the voters because they attack Obama as a failure while supporting the Republican obstructionism to progressive policies and reward Republicans for actively seeking to give corporations more rights to kill and maim.

    Name one member of Congress attacked for their policies.

    Gone are the early days of Earth Day and environmental activism when a Dirty Dozen list of Congressmen was targeted for defeat by liberal activists, sending a message to Nixon that made him the man to create the EPA, the most hated agency for conservatives who want an EDA (environment destruction agency).

    Look, if you care about the environment or any other matter, make sure the Congress represents your views sufficiently well that even a Republican like Nixon will agree to things that run contrary to the corporate polluter interests. The US Constitution gives the President no power to sign laws that have not been passed by the Congress that is designed to be difficult to move forward on anything.

  55. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    George –
    sending the president the message that he cannot rely on the support of progressives has one predictable outcome – it pushes him further into reliance on centrists’ votes and thus further into appeasement of whatever is the dominant propaganda that the MSM choose to broadcast.

    While registering with the Green party advances that dynamic, encouraging people to vote for a Green presidential candidate can only, under present circs, assist the GOP’s chances. In my view the Green party has no business putting up presidential candidates as political gestures – it should be focussed on working its way up (ASAP) through the sundry levels of elected office aiming for a substantial presence in Congress. A presidential bid would make sense at that point.

    For the present, the only rational prospect of a useful president in 2013 is via a successful primary challenge to Obama, by a person of a stature to see off the likes of the dishonest populist Perry.

    Since there are plenty of democrats of that stature, the question becomes one of whether democrat voters are simply wedded to deference for the incumbent and the conventional rubber-stamp selection process, or whether they will apply their democratic right to select a candidate who can beat Perry and who will address the critical social, economic and ecological needs that America faces ?

    Obama is evidently way past his sell-by date, so I’d point out that:
    if your horse is drowning under you in mid-stream, it’s advisable to change horses.



  56. Rascal says:

    Wow. I call Obama the Caveman because at least once a week, (usually more) he throws sand in his former bases’ eyes and caves to the GOP who will never love him or OK his proposals. What a fool. He takes super seriously the criticisms the teabaggers throw his way and completely blows off his former supporters’ pleas. Going so far as to insult them.

    He will deservedly be a one term, mediocre president. No way am I voting for that punk.

  57. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Frank –

    Obama was elected to see off those bullies’ backers. He’s not only failed to do so, he’s regularly resorted to craven appeasement that has merely emboldened them, as well as giving himself the profile of a loser among the critical center-ground voters.

    In short, he’s shown himself to be unfit for the role of Democratic presidential candidate, so a successful primary challenge is now both justified and required to gain a useful president in 2013.



  58. Sasparilla says:

    Have to disagree there, it wasn’t the green vote in 2000.

    The reason he lost was that 20,000 (I think that’s the right number) registered Democrats in Florida voted for George Bush (they were the ones out of their minds).

  59. Today’s terrible ruling directly damages our future.

    The most ethically aggregious announcements tend to happen on Fridays. Often late in the day. That assures mainstream media journalistic B-Teams will just deliver without analysis; few are permitted to criticize and comment on the announcement.

    This sell-out shows he actively ignored the science – that ozone harms all life forms from bacteria to humans. President Obama could have looked at reports by the National Crop Loss Assessment Network which in 1988 directly measured the damage that ozone does to agriculture. Ozone levels that President Obama just approved are responsible for up to 18% of production losses to domestic crops. Finally the cop-out of “saving jobs” is the worst, most lame excuse of all. Because by regulating ozone, more jobs would come from greater agricultural productivity and we would see a healthier future for all – just by tighter regulation of ozone emissions.

    President Obama invited the receipt of bad information. He is ruling in ways that suggest corporate corruption, and he appears unwilling to comprehend the basic science behind wise policy.

    These decisions should be based on science, economics, and ethics — not the short term interests of polluters.

  60. BBHY says:

    I am sorry but that is so completely wrong.

    In the 2000 election in Florida, governor Bush canceled the voter registrations of 600,000 Democrats. Then 500,000 registered Democrats voted for George W. Bush. Still, even after all that Gore received the most votes but the Supreme Court stopped the recount before those votes could be counted.

    After all of that, you blame the 90,000 votes for Nader for the election of George W. Bush? Oh please.

  61. Victor matheson says:

    90,000 greens voting with their brain instead of their hearts would have prevented GW Bush. Simple as that.

    And for those of you disliking the creeping corporatism of Obama, I’m sure you’ll love the stampede toward corporatism under Perry.

  62. Joe Romm says:

    Many fewer than that in FL.

  63. Buzz Belleville says:

    The White House explanation makes no sense. If they are worried about the scientific review in 2013, they can simply delay that review. The law requires only that the review be within five years of the regs. If the regs are implemented now, that review could be pushed until 2016. The current review date of 2013 is based on the Bush EPA regs that were proposed but never implemented.

    I forgive the administration for a lot. But when I (and folks on this blog and elsewhere in the environmental community) go to bat to support what is surely a sound proposal like increasing the ozone stds, and we argue with and alienate our friends and political opponents by supporting the administration’s proposal, and then the administration just backs off, it really leaves us turning in the wind. I have no response when one of those opponents now says ‘even the administration does not agree with you’ that we need better clean air stds.

  64. Rascal says:

    How craven is this move by corporate Obama??? If I wanted a Republican president, I would have voted for one. OMG. He’s lost me forever.

  65. Mugsy says:

    PLEASE tell me President Obama didn’t use the “U” word (“uncertainty”)???

  66. LMADster says:

    Why impose thousands of clumsy and circumlocutory regulations like these smog regs or CAFÉ standards on businesses to control carbon emissions or fuel efficiency when a single, simple-to-calculate, simple-to-administer, revenue-generating carbon tax can get the job done?

    The best mechanism to control smog and increase efficiency is a simple, single-rate CARBON TAX. But the climate change crowd has bungled the sales job with all their loose talk about “global governance”, by putting that clown, algore, in charge and by turning government-funded scientists into political hacks .

    That’s what the LMAD plan does.

    The LMAD plan uses a $600 billion/ year CARBON TAX not to fight global warming BUT to BUY off Liberals. And that’s just the start… LMAD also adds fully-funded Healthcare for every American, a public option health insurance entity, and the implementation of tax schemes frequently advocated by Liberals such as a “sugar” tax and a value-added tax. The LMAD plan even grants overnight amnesty of 10 million illegal aliens.

    THEN LMAD buys off Conservatives with much more than a balanced budget and limited government ; it permanently ends future illegal immigration with zero-tolerance, adds tort reform and completely replaces all taxes on production, labor, saving and investment with the new carbon tax, the value-added tax and the sugar tax. The LMAD plan even removes the burden of healthcare expenses from corporate balance sheets by ending our reliance on employer-provided health insurance.

    Energy efficiency? It’s in there. Healthcare-for-All? It’s in there. Balanced budget? It’s in there. Carbon tax? It’s in there. Rational taxation? Amnesty? Border Security? Limited government? Social Security and Medicare solvency? It’s all in there; it’s all paid for and it’s all optimized for economic growth.

    It’s time for progressives concerned about rising temperatures and conservatives concerned about rising federal debt to realize the obvious: they need to BUY each other off in order to effectively address their pet ideological concerns-there is no other way. This means trading, among other things, a carbon tax for a balanced budget amendment and a more limited government. This plan is outlined at

    Wahla! Energy efficiency WITHOUT a light bulb ban.

    Plan Blog:



    Or just Google “LMADster” for more info.

  67. Apotropoxy says:

    I now regret having been an Obama county delegate and a donor. I was wrong.

  68. Paul Papanek says:

    Bad decision three ways.

    Bad on the science. (The current standard is too lenient.)
    Bad on the politics. (Why cave just BEFORE the tussle on a jobs bill?)
    Bad on the economics. (This is the worst. The stalled economy is a good reason precisely FOR improving the standard. Why not put idle workers and idle capital to work improving America’s plant and industrial base, at a time the economy is mired in a liquidity trap with insufficient aggregate demand?)

    More evidence that it’s time for progressives to send their dollars NOT to OFA, but to progressive congressional candidates who will pull this administration away from its rightward drift.

  69. goldenboy says:

    In the end a lousy democrat is still a better choice than a wonderful republican!If the dems would give me a choice i would vote for anyone but Obama.

  70. mana takei says:

    staying home or not voting is not a real option Can we wake up enough to get Obama’s attention that we voted for him because we really do want CHANGE we can believe in

  71. mana takei says:

    OK YES but feeling hopeless is not a viable option what actions can we take to either bring Obama back to reality or how can we find a candidate that has the courage to follow a conscience?

  72. mana takei says:

    I think it is wise to revise Obama and not find another candidate without the party backing or resources. We are stuck with this young man so let us educate him. Send him these posts, beg him to pay attention to the change that is necessary and to be bold in our behalf, create jobs that create a future, bring resources home from wars, imagine communities of self reliance, education that touches minds and makes the future happen. Think forward.

  73. radhika says:

    Seriously, what is Obama’s gameplan? I gotta believe he intends to systematically alienate every part of his base. I’ve wondered for a long time: what TEAM is he playing for. And why?

  74. pw henderson says:

    I’d vote Sanders … if he ran as the Democrat in place of Obama. A split ticket guarantees a Republican president. And you remember what happened last time. The world would be a different place if Nader had done the honorable thing and backed out before the election.

  75. Woody says:

    President Obama is doing what any politician would do. He can turn his back on the environmental movement, because he is trying to get reelected. Where are the dems going to go? Vote for the repub nominee? No way. President Obama can spit in the face of minorities, environmental concerns, and any democrate issue that might cost him a few votes. Where are minorities and the left going to go? Nowhere. They will vote for him and he knows it. He needs to get the moderates back on his side if he is to win the election. Asking him to do what is right and good for the country is falling on deaf ears when it might mean he could lose the election. President Obama only believes in one thing more than his ideology. He believes in being reelected. So we’ll just have to grin and accept it. We’ve got no place else to go. No matter what President Obama does. We’re stuck.

  76. groobiecat says:

    The thing is, this alienates everyone. First, the right doesn’t care what he does. Period. He could hand out free guns to all the freakshows on the right and he’d be called a socialist. He has to be delusional: he can’t win on the right by pandering to them or by doing anything else. He clearly hasn’t learned a @$@!#% thing about this basic truth. What on earth is he thinking?

    He did the same @%@$@%@$ thing when he proposed offshore drilling off the Mid-Atlantic, remember? People were dumbstruck then, too. Same sh!t, different day.

    Someone should tell David Axelrod that this strategy of “the left will come along with us, because who else are they going to vote for” is a prescription for disaster. Why? Because people will simply not vote at all. Obama needs to fire some people, possibly, including himself..

  77. Rob Wheeler says:

    I have been writing to the Administration, OFA, and Obama’s campaign before he was elected. I never get a response nor indication that anyone important has read or heard what I have said. Really I think our only hope is to try to find the best progressive candidate possible and encourage him or her to run in the primary ASAP. Unfortunately, I do not know who this candidate would be. Dennis Kucinich would be an obvious choice; but I doubt he could ever be elected president in this country. Probably some on who has not been getting a lot of national media attention; but has all of the other right qualifications.

  78. Rob Wheeler says:

    We are not stuck. The best way to send a message to Obama is to run a strong candidate in the primaries against him that is incredibly strong on the issues that count. If that doesn’t tell him that he either supports progressive positions or looses the election, then nothing else will. And if he doesn’t get it now; we might as well kiss our country goodbye.

    By the way, if the Progressive, Black and Hispanic Caucuses, labor, environmentalists, women’s groups, and progressive political organizations all support a progressive candidate that will be a powerful statement indeed. One that the Democratic Party and administration will have to listen to. What the heck, maybe someone like Joe Romm ought to run? Or one of the Kennedy boys (now incredibly great men)? What if progressives decided to launch a truly open campaign accepting all nominations seeking to find the best possible candidate. Now wouldn’t that be a novel idea in this supposedly once great country called America.

  79. Cynthia says:

    Quote by Mike Ruppert (From the Wilderness):

    Collapse in the Infinite Growth paradigm means that aggressive destruction of the environment and the planetary ecosystem will accelerate as the profit priority overrides all sense and removes all restraints on raping the planet and killing its life. This has nothing to do with partisanship. It has everything to do with both parties’ unyielding obedience and loyalty to Infinite Growth… the real master of the Old Paradigm. — MCR

  80. Zan says:

    I agree with Saddened, Frank, Maria and ~others above. This is an intra-party fight but let’s not be too lazy to vote.

    Although it does make it hard to organize. It feels to me a little like the Kerry campaign. It was very hard to energize
    volunteers, then. The case for Obama has gotten much more complicated.

    This XL Pipeline and the abandoning of EPA rules is indeed very “last straw”! I think we need to call our representatives,
    let them know we’re upset and definitely take it to Obama when he gets back in town.

    The White House has a new petitioning system. Let’s use it!

    I still think Obama’s the grownup in the room. However,
    as an armchair psychologist, I think playing Spock for these
    last few years has “gotten to him” and I think he did politically miscalculate(2X) on the environment[And yes he doesn’t seem all that educated about it since he once supported corn ethanol as a political sop to Illinois.]

    Also people like Larry Summers I’m not so sure about. But
    Obama has done a lot

    Nevertheless, I totally agree with Paul Krugman on this
    (article mentioned in Joe’s next post).

  81. Zan says:

    Here is the link to what the fuck has obama done so far: