It was just one of many costly regulations the Obama administration has put on hold or delayed in the run-up to the election, as the president tried to dispel the impression that he's anti-business.
"I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty," Obama said when he put the brakes on the smog standard, "particularly as our economy continues to recover."
But if Obama wins re-election, all these postponed rules, along with a host of other costly regulations, likely will hit the economic shores.
$515 Billion Drag Looms
Using official government sources, the National Federation of Independent Business calculates there are more than 4,000 federal rules in the pipeline, and that just the 13 biggest ones would, if imposed in an Obama second term, cost businesses a total of more than $515 billion over four years.
That tally doesn't include more than 100 still-to-be-written regulations needed to enforce the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, or the mountain of regulations required by ObamaCare. The health law has already resulted in thousands of pages of rules, including 18 pages simply to define what a "full-time employee" is.
Among the most expensive new rules now waiting in the wings:
Smog rules. Although Obama canceled those extremely tight new standards — which would put most of the country out of compliance and cost $90 billion a year to meet — he promises to revisit the issue in 2013 and could easily reverse course.
Food safety rules. The Food and Drug Administration finished up vast new food safety rules by the end of last year, but they've been held up by the White House. The cost isn't clear, although the administration admits that the price tag for the rules dealing with imported food "will be significant."
Auto mandates. The Department of Transportation wants to require all new cars to include a rear-view video camera that turns on when cars are backing up. The cost? $10.8 billion over four years.
Greenhouse gas rules. The EPA had planned to release new rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries by this November, but now says it won't issue the rules until next year at the earliest. The oil industry says that, depending how the EPA writes the rule, it could be "very expensive."