Message to Administration: Don’t Rush Ozone Standards

Jul 26, 2011

Editor’s Note: This post by Sean Hackbarth, originally appeared in ChamberPost, the official blog of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The EPA postponed their release of new ozone regulationsBill Kovacs, the Chamber's senior vice president of Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs hopes "that today’s decision by the EPA is a sign that the administration recognizes the severe economic consequences that would undoubtedly come from this voluntary reconsideration of the ozone standards."

In an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, Gov. John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, while grateful for the administration's attempt earlier this year to modernize the regulatory system, points out the EPA's proposed ozone standard is "the single most expensive environmental regulation in U.S. history." The proposal would lower the existing standard from 0.070 parts per million (ppm) to 0.060 ppm.

Engler writes that the rule's economic effects would be enormous:

This will mean that up to 85% of the counties currently monitored by the EPA would fall into "nonattainment" status, exceeding the air-quality ozone standards and triggering a cascade of federal and state controls.

The EPA estimates these new standards could cost business anywhere from $20 billion to $90 billion annually. New or expanding companies would be required to obtain emission offsets and install controls. Existing businesses would face expensive new retrofit requirements just to keep operating as they have for years.

What is odd about the EPA's efforts is that the agency is evaluating the current ozone standard and will complete work by 2013. Writes Engler, "There is no reason to rush through new standards before it is even clear they are necessary or desirable."

With 9.2% unemployment, our economy can't afford more barriers to growth.


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