President Obama on Friday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to pull back proposed tighter smog standards, “citing the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty” in a sputtering economy. The EPA’s new ozone rule would have required communities and states to reduce their air pollution (which comes mostly from cars and factories) in future years or risk losing federal money. Its estimated economic cost was $19 billion to $90 billion, but the EPA had estimated it would save up to $100 billion in health costs. The withdrawal is a win for business and Congressional Republicans; environmental leaders sharply criticized the president. "The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe," said one.