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Obama backs down over plans to impose cleaner air laws

In a surprise move which risks consolidating the growing perception of him as a back-down, back-off leader, President Barack Obama announced yesterday he was giving up his plans to impose stricter air quality regulations for fear it would add to the country’s economic and employment woes. Waving the white flag to the business lobby and to Republicans who had vowed to make the new ozone rule a litmus-test issue in 2012, Mr Obama instructed the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, to scuttle impending regulations designed to tighten…