President Heeds U.S. Chamber Argument, Delays Ozone Revamp
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In a victory for America’s job creators and a big first step in what needs to be a broader regulatory reform effort, President Obama has requested that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson withdraw a potentially disastrous ozone standard.
“The U.S. Chamber is glad the White House heeded our warning and withdrew these potentially disastrous – and completely voluntary – actions from the EPA,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue in a September 2 statement following the president’s announcement. “It is worth noting that the President agreed with just about every one of the Chamber’s arguments against a new ozone standard. As the president notes, we are now almost three years into the current five-year cycle for another ozone standard, so if EPA were to change the standard, it would have to presumably do it again in two years. This creates tremendous uncertainty for business.”
Businesses are already making investments to comply with the 2008 standard, and EPA’s proposed upheaval of that standard would have thrown even more costs and uncertainty at job creators. Even the EPA’s own data shows that its proposal would have cost businesses up to $90 billion a year in compliance costs. Private sector studies predict that the standards would have cost as many as 7.3 million American jobs by 2020.
An additional benefit of the EPA waiting until 2013 to consider a new ozone standard is that it will have access to more recent science as required by the Clean Air Act, the Chamber notes.
Chamber officials, however, warn that EPA could just be delaying the inevitable and point to additional potentially burdensome regulations under consideration, including pending and future greenhouse gas regulations, the Boiler MACT rules, the suite of anti-coal industry regulations (Utility MACT, coal ash, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and rules governing cooling water intake structures), cement manufacturing air toxics standards, and several other sector-specific regulations.
“Federal agencies are increasingly using the regulatory process to ‘legislate by regulation,’” writes Chamber Counsel on Environmental Policy Ross Eisenberg. “How many more of these environment-versus-the-economy battles must we all go through before addressing the root of the problem? The regulatory process is not functioning as designed, and it must be fixed.”