The Washington Times - October 25, 2012, 03:00PM

Sen. James M. Inhofe is accusing the White House of purposely delaying air-quality environmental rules until after the election to avoid alienating voters in battleground states such as Colorado, Ohio and Michigan.

Mr. Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who serves on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said Thursday the administration intentionally is stalling the new regulations to keep voters from knowing their true costs and their impact on eliminating jobs and increasing energy costs.

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“The president is planning on disobeying the law again, … and not coming out and saying what types of regulations are gong to be until after the election,” Mr. Inhofe told “Fox and Friends” on Thursday.

As The Hill first reported, one of the potential environmental rules would impose tougher standards on ozone pollution, which Mr. Inhofe contended would cost the economy $90 billion per year. Concerned that imposing the new rules would harm the economic recovery, the administration delayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s stricter ozone standards in September 2011, saying it would revisit the proposal in 2013.

But the coal industry and other businesses are deeply concerned about the lingering uncertainty over the rules.

“Based on the EPA’s record over the past four years, it’s safe to say that the coal industry is very concerned about what another four years would bring,” said Lisa Camooso Miller, a spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “Just four of EPA’s proposed rules could destroy 180,000 jobs per year, and that’s just a starting point.”

Those job losses could hit several battleground states particularly hard.

The top coal-dependent states include eight 2012 battlegrounds or must-win states for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign: Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

In addition, Pennsylvania, a big coal-producing state and another key swing state, depends on coal for 48 percent of its electricity needs.

The Environmental Protection Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.