Imperial EPA: Speeding Up Ozone Rules, Slowing Down Jobs

By September 21, 2010Energy, General, Regulations

The EPA is so aggressive on so many regulatory fronts, otherwise major issues tend to get shortchanged in the media, so kudos to The Wall Street Journal for covering the agency’s proposed ozone regs, being pushed before the new 2008 regulations even had a chance to go into full effect.

Monday’s WSJ reported, “New Smog Proposals From EPA Draw Fire“:

A proposed crackdown on smog by the Environmental Protection Agency is fueling resistance from businesses groups concerned about costs, Republicans who say it’ll be a drag on the economy—and some heartland Democrats engaged in tough election battles this fall.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has dramatically stepped up the pace and scope of regulatory activity since 2009. She has pushed sweeping rules to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions linked to climate change, challenged coal companies over their mining practices, and questioned the methods energy companies are using to drill for natural gas.

Now Ms. Jackson is proposing to redefine what constitutes unsafe levels of ground-level ozone, a primary ingredient in smog.

The Journal cites two letters from elected officials alarmed by the EPA’s excesses. One comes from a bipartisan group of Senators led by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). The letter, available here, notes that the EPA normally revises the National Ambient Air Quality Standards on a five-year basis, if not longer. The Senators argue.

However, the Agency has proposed to significantly tighten the standards that were adopted less than two years ago, with no new data prompting EPA’s reconsideration. We believe that changing the rules at this time will have a significant negative impact on our states’ workers and families and will compound the hardship that many are now facing in these difficult economic times.

The second letter (available here) comes from West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate. He writes:

As EPA continues to promulgate more and more stringent standards, the economic consequences will become more and more burdensome for states and industry to bear, especially in these difficult times. By changing the rules in the middle of the game, EPA is adding an unnecessary element of confusion to an already complicated situation. Your agency must consider the economic and resource burdens caused by its actions. States will need flexibility and resources to help implement new standards. States also should give adequate time to develop plans that address any new air quality requirements.

The NAM’s Keith McCoy last week reported on a new study by the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI that estimated the job loss from the EPA imposing a 60 ppb standard — down from the current 75 ppb — at seven million. As Keith concluded in a message the Obama Administration should note: “You cannot credibly claim to be for new jobs and then lead a regulatory campaign that eliminates existing ones.”

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