According to a recent e-mail by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s spokesman Brendan Gilfillan, the agency has decided to delay, till July, the enforcement of more stringent clean-air rules, which are opposed by businesses led by Washington-based National Association of Manufacturers.
As per the e-mail, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson intends seeking additional information from a group of advisers, so as to make sure that the decision to enforce the tougher rules is "grounded in the best science."
It was under the Bush regime that the lawmakers - in consultation with environmentalists and industry groups - came up with a number of amendments to the Clean Air Act, changing the rules for toxic air pollution. The lawmakers had listed mercury and almost 200 other substances by name; asking the EPA to regulate them, while sparing the agency the uphill task of proving that the substances posed a risk.
In January, the EPA put forth some restrictions on ground-level ozone, one of the main ingredients of smog, that exceeded limits adopted by the Bush administration in 2008.
As per the EPA, the tougher rules will not only help prevent 12,000 premature deaths, and 58,000 cases of aggravated asthma, but will also bring about a saving of a whopping $100 billion in health costs.
Expressing disappointment at the delay in enforcing new rules, Senator Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, said that the EPA's decision "leaves millions of Americans unprotected from harmful ozone air pollution under an outdated, ineffective ozone standard."