One last thing about the secondary ozone standard and the interference by the White House – the Office of Management and Budget, in particular. Most the reporting about this story have mentioned that the OMB first made its views known on March 4, 2008, in a memo from OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Susan Dudley.
In that memo, Administrator Dudley attempts to explain and cajole the EPA into abandoning its more-restrictive secondary standard in favor of a standard that is equal to the primary standard. As you can see from the document (see above link), she uses three arguments:
- Executive Order 12866 says only make regulations required by law;
- The EPA has not properly evaluated the more restrictive W126 standard; and
- The EPA has always set the secondary standard the same as the primary standard.
The very next day, EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock responded to the OMB’s scientific criticisms laying out how the EPA,
- Addressed the OMB’s concern about whether the W126 standard has considered all of the factors included in the definition of “welfare” in the Clean Air Act section 302(h);
- Should not presume that the secondary standard should be the same as the primary and points to new research showing that the secondary standard would be better served by the W126 standard rather than an 8-hour standard.
The one thing that Deputy Administrator Peacock did not address was the underlying political concerns that surfaced in Administrator Dudley’s March 11, 2008, letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.