By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an industry challenge to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations issued by Republican former President George W. Bush's administration that set standards for ozone pollution.
By declining to hear the case, the court left in place the so-called primary air quality standards designed to protect public health, which Democratic President Barack Obama's administration defended.
Those rules, which set air quality standards that U.S. states and the federal government must implement through regulations, had been challenged by the Utility Air Regulatory Group, which represents electricity-generating companies.
In July 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the primary standards but sent secondary standards that are required to protect vegetation, crops and animals back to the EPA for revision.
Ozone pollution forms when air pollutants react with sunlight and has been linked to health problems including decreased lung function.
The 2008 rule was challenged by states, industry groups and environmental groups, with some saying it was too strict and others that it was too lenient. The EPA was on the verge of issuing a new rule to supplant the Bush-era regulations in September 2011 but the Obama White House rejected the proposal.
The case is Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. EPA, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-1235.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)