When a ranking Chinese government official slammed the U.S. embassy and consulates in China earlier this month for measuring local air pollution data, calling it “violating diplomatic conventions,” Chinese web users snapped back. “Can’t you see the bad pollution yourself?” asked one typical comment.
China’s censors have tremendous power in print, online, and even in public spaces such as Tiananmen Square. But when it comes to air pollution, even the Chinese government can’t obscure the facts. People see and breathe it every day.
What’s the saying? You can’t campaign from the Left? President Obama taking that to heart.
UPDATE: Now with context:
President Barack Obama on Friday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposed regulation for ozone air quality standards, citing the nation’s wobbly economy.
President Obama, in a statement, said that by requesting withdrawal of the ozone regulations “I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”
Earlier in the week, President Obama in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said the proposal could cost the economy an estimated $19 billion to $90 billion.
The EPA’s ozone rule has been among the more controversial regulations proposed by the environmental agency. Republicans and industry groups say the rule would be too costly to implement and lead to a slowdown in economic growth. Earlier this week, House Republicans said they would hold a vote this winter on a bill to prevent its implementation.
In January 2010, the EPA proposed to tighten ozone standards to a range between 60 and 70 parts per billion, down from 75 parts per billion.
Reaction from environmentalists was swift. “The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. “This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health.”