President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday to remove an air-quality rule from implementation until a possible date in 2013 when the White House may revisit the regulation. The action coincided with last week’s dismal unemployment rate and is criticized as indicating precedence for expanding industry over the environment.

The EPA standard would decrease threatening smog levels, which has the potential to greatly improve the health of Americans while simultaneously costing $90 billion. Republican lawmakers and business groups agree with the President’s decision, saying the regulation would restrict new oil and gas projects that are expanding the industry.

The decision has sparked disapproving reactions from environmental groups that believe the White House is “siding with corporate polluters over the American people,” Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in her blog.

President Obama responded with a statement that expressed his continued commitment to clean air and public health, but cited the significance of limiting regulations while the economy strengthens. 

For more on this story, read coverage on the Wall Street Journal.