"Smog in the air we breathe poses a very serious health threat, especially to children and individuals suffering from asthma and lung disease," Jackson said at the time. "Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier."
In the White House statement, though, Obama noted that -- even before Jackson's January proposal -- the smog standards had been proposed for re-examination in two years anyway.
"Work is already under way to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013," the president said. "Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered."
Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group, said Obama "recognized that [the] EPA was considering an ozone rule that was inappropriate given already-scheduled reviews due to take place under the Clean Air Act."
Segal added, though, that industry remains concerned about a variety of other EPA proposals, including efforts to regulate toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants and require greenhouse gas reductions from utilities and industry.
"As the president prepares his remarks for his jobs speech," Segal said, "we need more of this common sense -- but today was a good start."
In the White House statement, Obama appeared to praise some of those other EPA efforts and said his administration would oppose efforts by Congress to weaken environmental protection laws.
"I want to be clear: my commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering," Obama said. "I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution. And my administration will continue to vigorously oppose efforts to weaken [the] EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act or dismantle the progress we have made."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.