* Fourth time EPA delays rule
* OMB reviewing rule, EPA says will be finalized "shortly"
* Dow Chemical, industry groups say rule too expensive
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, July 26 The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency said on Tuesday it would again delay issuing
a final limit on smog pollution opposed by manufacturers and
many Republican lawmakers until the Obama administration has
finished reviewing it.
In December, the agency said it would issue the rule by the
end of July.
However, on Tuesday the EPA said the rule is going through
interagency review at the White House Office of Management and
Budget and that it will not issue the rule on Friday as it had
"Following completion of this final step, EPA will finalize
its reconsideration, but will not issue the final rule on July
29th, the date the agency had intended," the EPA said in a
It did not say when it expects the rule to be issued, but
added, "we look forward to finalizing this standard shortly."
It was the fourth time the agency delayed the smog
standards, originally slated to be finalized last August.
The initial standards, proposed near the start of last
year, would limit ground-level ozone, or smog, to between 60
and 70 parts per billion measured over eight hours.
The proposal was stronger than 2008 standards set by the
Bush administration. Environmentalists blasted those for being
less than what government scientists recommended.
Under the rule, factories and oil, natural gas and power
generators would be forced to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides
and other chemicals called volatile organic compounds. Smog
forms when those chemicals react with sunlight.
The rule has been opposed by industry groups. The American
Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the
Business Roundtable complain that it would damage the economic
recovery and that many areas would not be able to meet the new
Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) has said the rule could cost as
much as $90 billion. Several companies including Dow have urged
the administration to delay the rule until 2013.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the ozone rules
would save as much as $100 billion in health costs, and help
prevent as much as 12,000 premature deaths from heart and lung
complications. She has toured the country touting the health
benefits of the agencies air pollution rules.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Alden Bentley)((email@example.com; +1 202-898-8360;