The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held an informational hearing this morning on the EPA’s proposed new ozone standards, which were published in the Federal Register today (here). The regulatory term of art is National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, for ozone.
The NAM’s position on these standards is that their implementation would cause serious economic damage without a demonstrable improvement in public health. The NAM contends that the current standards — which still have yet to be implemented in many places — should be retained as option. As NAM President John Engler observed today in our release,
While the alleged health benefits of a stricter standard are in dispute, there is no dispute that a stricter standard could cost an additional $100 billion or more in compliance costs and capital expenditures.
In his testimony (.pdf file here), Dr. Roger McClellan, an environmental science advisor, offered a sharp critique of the science and methodology behind the proposed rules.
Then, offering testimony from the real world — you know, the working world — was Mayor George Grace of St. Gabriel, LA, who serves as president of the National Conference of Black Mayors. The new EPA standards will throw many, many communities into non-compliance, with serious economic consequences, he argued. Five parishes are currently classified as non-attainment areas; with the new standards, more than half of the state’s 64 parishes would. With Louisiana still rebuilding from Katrina, the EPA wants to add to its burdens? Grace:
Such impacts manifest themselves in the form of increased costs to industry, permitting delays, restrictions on industiral expansion within an area, impacts on transportation planning, increased costs to consumers and for commercial and consumer products.
If health is the consideration, then consider this: “The health and welfare of our communities is also dependant on having good jobs, economic growth and quality of life that goes with it.”
A 90-day comment period is now under way for the proposed rule, and no doubt we’ll see activist groups trying to scare people into asking for even more stringent requirements, based on faulty science and faith that more is always better when it comes to regulation. But we all live in the real world — We hope the EPA does too.
UPDATE (2 p.m.) To be expected: The EPA is already being mau maued for not doing enough. Some groups won’t rest until ALL the jobs are gone.
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