President Obama Ok’s More Pollution, More Lawyers

After President Obama’s surprise announcement today, thousands of legal jobs may have been saved.

Today, President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw a proposed ozone rule that Conservatives and business groups allege would cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year and eliminate thousands of American jobs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The air-quality rule would have streamlined and tightened standards for smog-creating ozone, reducing the requirement from 75 parts per billion to a range of 60 to 70. Compliance with the new regulations, however, would cost businesses and states billions of dollars, and countless jobs–maybe even yours.

With the rule on hold, corporate in-house counsel can now rest assured. And, trial lawyers can celebrate, as this announcement may even spark litigation, according to the WSJ Law Blog.

“Jones Day partner Kevin Holewinski told the Law Blog he thinks that the president’s announcement could prompt a number of environmental groups, well-heeled plaintiffs’ lawyers, and state attorneys general to consider litigation against companies over their greenhouse gas emissions.”

According to Holewinski, these groups may consider litigation the best way to get the EPA’s ozone rule back on the table in Congress, and public health and environmental issues back in the limelight around the nation.

Happily, the number of lawsuits needing lawyers just went up.

But, so did the level of air pollution.

In a statement (via WSJ), Mr. Obama said, “I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover,” despite supporting cleaner air and higher standards of environmental regulation.

Attorneys should advise their big-business clients accordingly, and also seize the opportunity for work, for now.

It makes you wonder, though, when it comes to progress and advancement, will it always be a 180-degree trade-off between the economy and the environment?

-WB

Photo copyright of the Natural World Museum.

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