By Timothy Cama and Tim Devaney

The Obama administration is preparing to unveil an air pollution rule shortly after the midterm elections that could be among the most costly and controversial in history.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking approval from the White House for a proposal to update the nation’s outdated ozone standards. The agency punted on the air pollution rules three years ago and missed another deadline last year.

Environmental and public health advocates say stronger ozone standards can’t come soon enough. But business groups complain that tougher rules would be “unrealistic”.

“You have to balance what you’re trying to achieve environmentally with what you’re trying to achieve in the economy,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The new proposed rules will be the climax of the EPA’s review of the current standard for ground-level ozone, which it is obligated to study every five years.

Ozone, a byproduct of pollutants that come from burning fossil fuels, is known to cause respiratory illnesses and to harm some plants. Officials have not said whether they will seek to lower the threshold for the pollutant, but observers think it will be reduced to some degree…

Wherever the limit falls, the EPA is likely to have a great deal of science to back it up.

“It’s probably important, given the history, that they can point to new evidence, a change of pace relative to September 2011,” said Michael Greenstone, director of the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy institute.

He was referring to Obama’s decision to block the EPA from moving forward with its last attempt at a revision.

Continue reading at the Hill…

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