After months of speculation, EPA has issued its new standard for ground-level ozone, lowering the standard from 75 parts per billion to 70ppb – ignoring common sense and on-the-ground realities in the process.
As U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) stated in a recent op-ed, the administration is pushing a “false choice” between environmental stewardship and economic growth with this ozone rule. Nowhere is this false choice clearer than in the refining industry – as AFPM has explained in the past, emissions have consistently fallen while production has increased.
What makes this latest rule even more maddening is that EPA itself has acknowledged (albeit quietly) that ozone levels are falling and air quality is improving. According to EPA data, ozone levels have dropped 33 percent from 1980 to 2014, even as industrial output and the number of vehicles on the roads increased.
But the most absurd aspect of the rule is the willful decision by this administration to hit consumers and the U.S. fuel and petrochemical industries with an astonishingly expensive regulation – causing an annual GDP loss of up to $140 billion per year, according to a report from NERA Economic Consulting – which could also cost more than one million jobs per year.
This frustration is summed up in AFPM President Chet Thompson’s comments on the new ozone NAAQS standards: “This rule is just one of the administration’s many high-cost regulations that continue to place undue hardship on not only the fuel and petrochemical manufacturers, but on American workers, businesses, and communities.”
He adds: “We urge Congress to consider the mounting impact these numerous and sometimes conflicting regulations will have on our nation’s manufacturing competitiveness and take the appropriate steps to protect our country’s economic welfare.”