3:31pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Environment

White House Retreats from Air Pollution Drilling Regs

President Obama is backing away from a controversial plan to impose tight air pollution regulations on oil and gas drilling, a move some conservationists are calling 'distressing.'

The Environmental Protection Agency had been drafting the rules which would have been the first to specifically regulate air pollution smog at and near oil and gas wells. 

But the White House raised concerns that the costs of the new regulations could be near a billion dollars; an objection often cited by the oil and gas industry in states like Colorado and Wyoming.  Pendery is an attorney with the Wyoming Outdoor Council

"What this represents is not a decision based on science, but a decision based on tea-leaf reading, judging the political winds and making a decision on that basis," said Bruce Pendery, staff attorney with the Wyoming Outdoor Council. 

The new rules had stemmed from a lawsuit filed by conservationists who wanted the federal government to address air pollution and public health problems being reported from oil and gas drilling operations. A hearing in Denver had been scheduled for late this month.