This weekly newsletter, focused on environmental issues, highlights relevant analysis done by the John Locke Foundation and other think tanks, as well as items in the news.

1. Obama calls on EPA to scrap proposed ozone rule

Back on July 27 we reported here that that the EPA was delaying the issuing of a new, more stringent ozone (smog) standard for localities across the country to meet. Last week President Obama asked the EPA to abandon the new rule. This standard would have constituted a dramatic tightening in the existing standard put in place only three years ago by the Bush Administration, which was itself a significant tightening of the standard put in place in the latter days of the Clinton Administration. The results of these changes over the last dozen years is that more and more communities have been finding themselves in violation of federal ozone rules, ironically while showing significant progress in reducing the amount of ozone in the atmosphere.

The new standard being proposed, which many people have argued would be close to natural background levels in some areas, would have probably been the costliest environmental regulations ever put in place in this country. The EPA’s own estimates were that the new regulations could cost businesses an additional $90 billion in compliance costs. While during his tenure Obama has done almost nothing that would actually help the economy, and most of what he has put in place — including his 2009 stimulus package — could only be call job killers, this time he deserves kudos for at preventing a regulation that would have been a major drain on any economic recovery.

2. WeeklyOzone Report

Each week during the summer ozone season this newsletter will report how many, if any, high-ozone days had been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. While many environmental groups express concern about air quality, the John Locke Foundation is the only organization that keeps up-to-date track of the actual ozone data and reports it in an unfiltered manner on a regular basis.

The ozone season began on April 1 and ends October 31. All reported data are from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

During the period from August 29 through September 4, there were 12 reported high-ozone readings on monitors across the state of North Carolina. Half of those were registered on three monitors in Mecklenburg County. The remaining six were registered on monitors located in Forsyth, Guilford, Rockingham, and Rowan counties. So far this season there have been 96 readings on various North Carolina monitors that have exceeded federal standards of 0.75 parts per billion. These have occurred over a period of 25 days.

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