You maybe already be familiar with the ozone NAAQS from our two (1 & 2) previous posts discussing health impacts from lowering ozone standards which EPA refuses to disclose, and the staggering negative economic impact with impossible attainment to become compliant with the new standard.
There is simply no scientific justification for lowering the standard beyond the level EPA began implementing in 2004. Neither the 2008 review nor the more recent ozone studies justify such move based on the health effects of exposure. Further, I will discuss some implications from tighter ozone standard.
1. Lowering the Standard Will Likely Conflict with Other Environmental Programs
The agency’s efforts to further reduce ozone levels will likely conflict with EPA’s increased emphasis on regulating greenhouse gases. Efforts to reduce NOx and VOCs could result in significant energy penalties through the installation of new control equipment. Requiring refineries to produce essentially sulfur free gasoline also exacts an energy penalty thereby increasing the carbon footprint. Promulgating a new ozone standard at this point in time is like asking a person to reduce their daily caloric intake to 800 calories per day and then not understand why they don’t have the energy to partake in extended strenuous physical activity.
2. Lowering the Standard Will Further Complicate the Implementation of Previous Standards
Providing sufficient time for affected areas to attain the standard is almost as important as the actual level of the standard. Unfortunately, EPA has not completed the implementation for the 2008 standard and in some cases aspects of the 1997 standard implementation, so these areas will be faced with multiple schedules. This level of uncertainty makes is extremely difficult to plan and execute ozone reductions in order to reach attainment. Moreover, as EPA’s own RIA indicates, the Agency has not been able to identify how the proposed standards can be met. Despite intensive review of available control technologies, EPA was forced to heavily rely on controls it could not identify or predict — literally “unknown” controls. Within California, EPA could not predict how the proposed standards would be met by 2025, even using all “unknown” controls.
3. Lowering the Standard Even Further Will Have Significant Negative Economic Impacts
If there is no demonstrable benefit from this proposal, then moving forward could mean unnecessary energy cost increases, job losses and reduced domestic energy development and energy security. This will negatively affect consumers in the midst of an economic recovery, in the very communities where we need to be creating jobs. These rules will hinder or threaten the economic recovery, and will lead to further loss of American manufacturing jobs and increased reliance on imported gasoline and diesel fuel.
Results from mobile and stationary source emissions reductions that are already on-the-books must be allowed to come into effect before a new standard is considered. As we have said before, EPA should not move the goalposts in the middle of the game.