Public health, green groups blast ozone rule delay

The strongly worded criticism underscores the growing frustration among some public health and environmental groups with recent decisions by the EPA to delay key air-pollution rules.

EPA said earlier Tuesday that it would not meet its July 29 deadline for releasing the new standards. EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said in a statement that the agency would release the standards "shortly."

The delay comes as Republicans, some Democrats and industry groups have mounted a campaign to scuttle the ozone regulations, reaching out to the EPA and the White House in recent weeks.

The American Lung Association urged President Obama not to capitulate to industry groups’ concerns.

"Big corporate polluters and some in Congress have placed intense pressure on the White House, trying to weaken the standard or to ignore the Clean Air Act," Connor said in the statement. "We urge the President to recognize that the polluters’ tired and discredited arguments are no more valid now than they were when they first trotted them out decades ago."

—Ben Geman contributed to this story.