Obama administration backs away from ozone regulations

Well, that didn’t take long.  As Paul points out in the comments section of his previous article on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s labor and environmental rule hit-list, the administration has already backed off the EPA’s new ozone rules, citing “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty”.  Read all about it here:
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/179357-white-house-shelves-smog-rule-in-huge-defeat-for-green-groups
and here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44372992/

While I might take issue with the idea of always being willing to shelve long-term environmental priorities in the face of near-term economic and political considerations (not to mention the wisdom of making unilateral policy concessions in the current political environment or adopting the anti-regulatory language of the Right!), Paul Krugman has a very different take on the underlying economics:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/broken-windows-ozone-and-jobs/ 
He argues this is a missed opportunity in that the measure would have been inherently stimulative, forcing firms to spend some of their idle cash reserves on replacing capital equipment and hiring more labor in order to achieve compliance.  Interesting…

Another relevant question for this crowd is what effect the proposed policy would have had on the nascent bioenergy industry; i.e. would this new rule have promoted or discouraged bioethanol or biopower?  The conventional wisdom seems to be that ethanol fuel slightly increases urban emissions of ground-level ozone precursors, while bioelectricity can either lower or raise emissions, depending on the level of emissions-control technology employed.  I’ll try to post some more formal and up-to-date GREET results (which distinguishes between urban and rural criteria air pollutant emissions) shortly.

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