Ozone Hearing: Regulation after Regulation, EPA Piling On

By February 2, 2010Economy, General, Regulations

Bryan Brendle, the National Association of Manufacturers’ director of energy & resources policy, spoke today at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Arlington, Va., on its proposed new standard for ground-level ozone.

The full statement is here, and Bryan summarizes:

EPA is literally piling onto the industrial sector. Not only did EPA already tighten the ozone standard in 2008, but federal regulators have also recently issued a stricter standard for Nitrogen Dioxide, which will impose additional compliance costs on industry.

EPA also proposes to tighten the standard for levels of Sulfur Dioxide, with comments due to the agency next week.

Also this year, federal regulators are expected to revisit the air quality standard for Particulate Matter (PM), adding even more uncertainty for businesses seeking to add jobs in areas that may be designated as “non-attainment.”

In addition to reviewing several standards for conventional air pollutants, EPA also plans to impose first-time limits on emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from plants and factories.

Bryan notes another interesting aspect of today’s public hearing, the lack of media coverage. In his 90 minutes in attendance, no one approached him with questions and the press weren’t immediately apparent.

This isn’t a knock on the trade press who cover EPA, who do a pretty good job, but just a reaffirmation that the EPA regulatory agenda is so aggressive, so encompassing, that even people whose job it is to keep track have a hard time staying abreast of everything going on.

In 2007 and 2008, when the Bush Administration’s EPA conducted the regulatory process that led to the current ozone standard, it was a major environmental story. We saw reports about the hearings, the economic impact of the rules on communities, a health and environmental activists prominently made their cases. Granted, some media outlets didn’t recognize the news until the regulations were actually implemented, but still, it was a BIG story.

The process now under way could potentially lead to even more drastic and jobs-destroying regulations. And it’s happening with little public attention, the result of the imperial EPA drowning business, communities and the media with regulation upon regulation.

There was another hearing in Houston today, and one scheduled for Sacramento on Thursday.

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