Ozone Regs: Crushing the Economy in Atlanta

By January 30, 2008Energy

The danger is high that any of the economic benefits of passing a stimulus plan will be vitiated — rather, stomped into the dust — by the ever-increasing costs of complying with new state and federal regulations. Take the pending EPA regulations that would lower acceptable ground-level ozone concentrations, a proposal based on questionable science and with no regard to the economic consequences. The very opposite of a stimulus…

The head of the Georgia Industry Association is making that case today to a hearing of the state Senate Science and Technology Committee, “Estimated Attainment Costs and Economic Impacts in Selected Regions of Proposed Revisions to the EPA 8-Hour Ozone Standard.” GIA’s Executive Director Sheri Wilburn tells the committee what the consequences would be for Atlanta:

The benefits are questionable, the costs clear, and they are enormous…The proposed rule change would cost the Atlanta metro $143.8 billion and 165,200 jobs. The Administration’s decision to change the ozone rule will be made in D.C., but its impacts will be felt across Georgia. Atlanta’s economic strength is needlessly being put to the test – EPA’s own estimates show that ozone levels have decreased 21 percent from 1980-2006.

Others testifying represent the Metro Atlanta Regional Business Coalition, Georgia Retail Association, Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The EPA’s new rule is expected in March.

The report, commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers, on the economic consequences to Atlanta is available here. We’ve put the GIA’s entire news release in the extended entry section below.


EPA’S FLAWED SMOG RULE WILL SHATTER THE

ATLANTA METRO ECONOMY

New Study Estimates Costs at More Than $143 Billion and 165,000 Jobs

Atlanta, GA – Compliance with a proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation will have a significant negative impact on Atlanta’s regional economy according to an economic report unveiled today by the Georgia Industry Association (GIA).

“The benefits are questionable, the costs clear, and they are enormous,” said GIA executive director Sherian Wilburn. “The proposed rule change would cost the Atlanta metro $143.8 billion and 165,200 jobs. The Administration’s decision to change the ozone rule will be made in D.C., but its impacts will be felt across Georgia. Atlanta’s economic strength is needlessly being put to the test – EPA’s own estimates show that ozone levels have decreased 21 percent from 1980-2006.”

Wilburn presented the report, commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers, at a Senate Science and Technology Committee hearing convened by Chairman Cecil Staton (R-Macon) and Vice Chairman Bill Heath (R-Bremen). Representatives of the Metro Atlanta Regional Business Coalition, Georgia Retail Association, Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation also appeared before the committee to address how these costs will impact their industries and the state’s economic future. The EPA is currently considering a stricter ozone air standard and will make a decision whether to enact a new rule in March 2008.

The study of 45 counties in the Atlanta metro area estimates attainment costs of the revised EPA standard would cost the region between $78.8 and $143.8 billion. It would also negatively impact the gross regional product by between $20.8 and $26.7 billion per year. In 2030, households could suffer a loss of up to $18.7 billion per year in disposable income — resulting in a loss of up to $603 million in state tax revenues.

Former North Carolina Governor James G. Martin, a former chemistry professor with an established environmental record, also appeared before the committee to address the speculative science behind the EPA proposal and the doubtful health and environmental benefits that would be gained at significant cost to the region.

Increased production costs associated with installation of emission control technology, increased taxes to fund local government control programs and cost of living increases due to regulations on consumer products all contribute to these high costs that would hinder the economic development in the metro Atlanta region and throughout the state. Nonattainment status also threatens federal transportation funding for important safety and road improvement projects.

Leave a Reply