Daily Oklahoman Asks Good Questions on Ozone

By July 5, 2007Energy

The Daily Oklahoman editorial page is skeptical of the EPA’s push for new standards for ground-level ozone, or in the vernacular, smog. We have lots of materials explaining why the current level should remain one regulatory options — a big reason is that compliance would do little if anything to improve public health while adding as much as $100 billion in costs. The Oklahoman also does a nice job of making the case in a short and reasoned fashion. An excerpt:

Even with current standards, ozone data can be misleading. According to the state Department of Environmental Quality, out-of-state pollutants are responsible for “a significant portion” of Oklahoma’s pollution. Increasing standards would mean many will pay for others’ pollution. Businesses would find it difficult to thrive in areas with a “dirty” stigma. States stand to lose valuable highway funds that in this state could aid the Department of Transportation in making environmentally friendly improvements. Is this what EPA intends?

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, says current standards are already doing their job — protecting public health. Voluntary efforts to curb air pollution are working well. DEQ, the Department of Transportation and others have pledged to cut carbon emissions according to an agreement with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. If the standard is toughened, disorder will ensue.

We don’t doubt the EPA seeks to protect public health; we just question whether this move will do that. “Nonattainment” loses its meaning if standards are unattainable. The current standard is working fine.

A word of advice to Johnson: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That’s our bolding of that one sentence. It’s a bit of common sense that gets lost in the rhetoric.

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