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Al Gore Criticizes Obama For Abandoning Smog Standards


First Posted: 09/07/11 04:19 PM ET Updated: 11/07/11 05:12 AM ET

In Al Gore's most recent post to "Al's Journal," the former vice president slams President Obama for his recent retreat on smog standards.

Last Friday, under pressure from big industries and GOP lawmakers, Obama asked the EPA to withdraw proposed clean air regulations.

According to the Associated Press, "The regulation would have reduced concentrations of ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, a powerful lung irritant that can cause asthma and other lung ailments."

Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of the American Lung Association, told The Huffington Post that she was "outraged," given that "the current standard used was based on the science as of 14 years ago -- before we knew that ozone killed people."

In Gore's Wednesday post, he writes:

Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution—even though economists have shown that the US economy would benefit from the job creating investments associated with implementing the new technology. The result of the White House’s action will be increased medical bills for seniors with lung disease, more children developing asthma, and the continued degradation of our air quality.

Gore also mentions that fact that on the very day that Obama made this announcement, activists were outside the White House engaged in protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, which is expected to run from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the course of two weeks, over 1,200 people were arrested for their acts of non-violent civil disobedience. In a recent HuffPost piece, Gore wrote, "The tar sands are the dirtiest source of fuel on the planet."

Many others have spoken out against Obama's decision, including Robert Redford, who wrote for The Huffington Post that "President Obama has done a lot to protect public health and our environment," but "I want our smog levels to come down so more of our children and seniors can breathe clean air. Putting corporate profits above public health is unconscionable. It's outrageous that it would be countenanced -- by this president or any other."

Keith Olbermann slammed President Obama on his Friday show, asking, "What the hell is going on in the White House?"

Read Al Gore's full post here.
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Filed by Joanna Zelman  |  Report Corrections