There’s no immediate cause and effect connection between Thursday’s proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten the screws on U.S. economic activity with lower ozone limits and the news this morning that the economy shed 85,000 jobs in December.
But that’s not to say there is NO connection: The EPA has embarked on a multi-front campaign to expand regulation and raise the costs of business, creating a climate of uncertainty for investors. The Administration’s ardent regulatory agenda hinders recovery.
The NAM’s Bryan Brendle makes important points along those lines in today’s Washington Times story, “EPA pushes much tougher smog limits“:
Mr. Brendle predicted that U.S. industry will bear most of the multibillion dollar implementation cost estimated by the EPA.
One of the biggest cost increases related to the proposed changes, Mr. Brendle said, is that American power plants will have to install or enhance “scrubbers” and other smog-reducing equipment, with the increased costs being passed on to factories that consume about a third of the country’s energy.
Mr. Brendle also said the proposal follows another recent EPA finding that clears the way for new attempts to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.
He said the proposal is also poorly timed considering the government records show that air quality has improved 25 percent from 1980 to 2008.
Elsewhere, the American Petroleum Institute released a statement on the new rules. Excerpt:
The action lacks scientific justification. EPA acknowledges the newer studies on ozone “do not materially change any of the broad scientific conclusions regarding the health effects of exposure.” Given that conclusion, there is absolutely no basis for EPA to propose changing the ozone standards promulgated by the EPA Administrator in 2008. To do so is an obvious politicization of the air quality standard setting process that could mean unnecessary energy cost increases, job losses and less domestic oil and natural gas development and energy security.
News coverage …
- Washington Post, “EPA proposes stricter limits on smog pollutants“
- Kansas City Star, “EPA proposes major smog cleanup to protect health“
- Dow Jones, “UPDATE: EPA Announces Proposal To Strengthen US Smog Standards“
- New York Times, “EPA Seeks Stricter Rules to Curb Smog“
- NPR, “Counties Face Stricter Smog Restrictions“
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