Ozone: EPA Rules Expected on Ground-Level Smog

By June 19, 2007Energy

The EPA is expected to release its draft rule on ground-level ozone standards on Wednesday, with the possibility of some unreasonable, unworkable restrictions being imposed in the search of immaculate respiration. Here’s the NAM’s summary of the issue:

On Friday, May 25, the White House Office of Management and Budget received the draft proposed rule for the EPA’s revision of the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone, which will be released by June 20. The EPA’s current ozone standard, which has not yet been fully implemented, has been set at 0.08 parts per million (ppm). …According to Administration sources [EDITOR’S UPDATE: EPA documents released to the public] the current draft includes discussion of a more stringent range from 0.075 ppm to 0.070 ppm. The EPA staff have recommended a standard that would be even more stringent, establishing limits of 0.060 ppm. The NAM continues to educate key Administration officials about the necessity of offering the current standard as a regulatory option on which to comment during the upcoming rulemaking. The cost of implementing a stricter standard could exceed $100 billion.

Surely it isn’t too much to ask for at least a modest effort toward a cost-benefit analysis. The question: Does crippling U.S. manufacturing with higher energy costs — the unavoidable result of regulatory overreach — serve the public interest when any reduction in smog is marginal, at best?

Continue the inquiry, too: Does increasing the cost of home heating, or driving, or manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, whatever, have a negative impact on people’s health? Does that impact outweigh the theoretical benefits of reduced smog? Does $100 billion in increased manufacturing costs divert resources from more beneficial uses? The EPA will answer those questions in the proposed rule, no doubt.

The NAM’s own Bryan Brendle was on CNBC this afternoon debating the issue with Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch. You can watch the video here.

By the way, after watching scores of union activists misrepresent the Employee Free Choice Act while at the same time vilifying their critics, it was refreshing to see O’Donnell make his case in a straightforward, calumny-free fashion. Although…the group’s Blog for Clean Air includes the usual anti-industry venom.

In any case, Bryan was better.

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