By Dan Shapley
If neither industry nor environmentalists love it, does that mean it's perfect?
The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its new court-ordered ozone pollution plan, aimed at reducing the levels of allowable smog in order to upgrade air quality to the point that scientists say is necessary to protect public health, particularly children. Industry groups -- and several states -- are upset because it will be hard, and expensive, to reduce tailpipe and smokestack pollution enough to meet the new standards. Environmentalists aren't satisfied because the proposal leaves open the possibility that the EPA won't decrease the standards after all. Typically, the federal government proposes a new regulation, and takes public comment on it. In this case, the EPA proposed its newer, more strict regulation, and said it will take comment both on it, and the idea of leaving things well enough alone. That has environmental groups worried the EPA is bowing to pressure from business and some states that want to maintain the air quality status quo. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, in a conference call with reporters yesterday, sought to tamp down that criticism. He stressed that the law requires the EPA to set limits on air pollution based solely on health considerations -- not on the economic costs, nor the technological feasibility of implementation, according to a story in the June 22 USA Today.